Glenwood Council takes another look at downtown resident parking fee

A pedestrian crosses Blake Avenue at Ninth Street in downtown Glenwood Springs.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Glenwood Springs City Council on Thursday said it may do away with a $50 application fee for downtown residential parking permits that was approved just last month.

“I know I voted for the fee, but I am personally thinking about reconsidering that whole immediate sort of notion in favor of something that would be more long term and more developed,” Councilman Rick Voorhees said at the regular Thursday Council meeting.

At its Feb. 21 meeting, councilors voted 4-3 to approve a resolution adopting new fee-based, downtown residential parking permits.

Permits allowing downtown-area residents to park on city streets for longer than the two-hour limit have been issued for several years, but without a fee. The new, $50 application fee was just one of a handful of new downtown parking regulations also approved in that same resolution.

“The city charges quite a number of different permit processing fees for things that come up,, But, that being said, I am very willing to take a step back from that and discuss that for another day.”— Councilman Steve Davis

Councilors Voorhees, Steve Davis, Todd Leahy and Mayor Michael Gamba voted in favor of the earlier resolution. Councilors Shelley Kaup, Jonathan Godes and Jim Ingraham delivered the dissenting votes.

“I certainly came out for that. It wasn’t a parking fee. It was a permit application fee, which we charge even for backyard chickens,” Councilman Steve Davis said.

“The city charges quite a number of different permit processing fees for things that come up,” Davis said. “But, that being said, I am very willing to take a step back from that and discuss that for another day.”

Davis said he was willing to take the fee off of the table, but still allow for residential parking permits.

“If everyone wants to see a resolution where we rescind that $50 permit processing fee, then we can direct staff to bring a resolution back to us at the next meeting to do that,” Gamba said.

Council did not suggest altering any other components of the new downtown parking provisions. Those included: allowing 72-hour parking in the public lot located near Cooper and Eighth Street; amending the city’s existing agreement with Garfield County to create four-hour parking in the shared city-county parking lot at Colorado and Seventh Street; and eliminating visitor-parking passes within the city’s general improvements district (GID).

The GID was first approved in 1980 and allows development without requiring parking, in exchange for fees that go into a general improvements fund.

“We are just talking about that $50 fee,” Godes said when giving city staff final direction.

The conversation, which was brought up Thursday during council comments and not as a formal agenda item, did not sit well with Councilman Leahy, however.

“I don’t think we should be in a habit of council comments asking for this type of change when we’ve gone through a process,” Leahy said. “The $50 fee is, whatever. If this room was full of businesses they’d want it to be $200.”

Leahy’s frustration was not directed at the fee itself, but at the process, which he said he was uncomfortable with.

“You guys work that out. You are going to be the next council sitting up here, not me. But that’s just a precedent that I am not comfortable with,” Leahy said.

Leahy is term-limited and unable to run for re-election in the April 2 city election for the Ward 3 seat. Three candidates are vying for that open seat, including Charlie Willman, Ksana Oglesby and Jennifer Vanian.

City staff will now draft another resolution specific to the parking permit fee for council to consider, likely at its March 21 meeting.

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