In the near future, the City of Plattsburgh might not require off-street parking to be available anymore.
The Common Council has taken the first step toward that, though other steps remain.
Former city Planning Board member Laurie Booth-Trudo said Thursday that parking minimums have essentially already been done away with in her neighborhood. She lives on Morrison Avenue, but tenants of an apartment building park on a neighboring street park on her street — which is very narrow — because they’re forbidden from parking off-street at their building.
“The landlord does not allow them to park in there, except in the winter when our snow lights are on,” Booth-Trudo said. “You cannot get a fire truck or emergency vehicle down that at times, because if people aren’t very good parkers, they have taken up the whole street.”
The main section of the local law would be brief and straightforward, reading: “Parcels of real property within the City of Plattsburgh shall not be required to establish a minimum number of off-street parking spaces.” However, a man wondered about the council members even talking about the subject at all.
“I’m not sure why this action has to be taken now, especially when there is a comprehensive review process,” he said. “To me, that would be the place to handle something like this.”
Councilor Patrick McFarlin brought a local law eliminating parking minimums to the council last month, but it was actually written two years ago. Prime Plattsburgh LLC’s effort to gain planning and zoning approval for its re-development of Durkee Street helped keep this proposal on the back burner.
“We wanted that (project) to go through the system and we didn’t want to interfere with that, so we specifically waited until Prime was done to put forth this local law,” McFarlin said.
He added that minimum parking requirements can price local developers out of cities that have them. A development in a small city in Idaho that McFarlin recently learned about also worried him.
“A bank went into town and they needed (to meet) more parking minimums — they got rid of a pizza place,” he said. “They bought the pizza place and tore it down to build more parking. The reason I was interested in pushing this forth is because I was afraid, with the Durkee Street parking lot going (away), that that might start happening.”
The Thursday night meeting will also be McFarlin’s last. He’s resigned from the Common Council because he and his family are about to move to the Albany area. It’s not clear yet if there will be a special election to fill the Ward 5 council seat or if Mayor Chris Rosenquest will appoint someone to serve out the remainder of McFarlin’s term.