Glenwood Springs Council approves downtown parking resolution
Not all council members believe it's the right solution
Glenwood Springs City Council Thursday night, in a 4-3 vote, approved a resolution adopting new fee-based downtown residential parking policies. But it was not without some public questioning, first.
“My overarching question is, does the city value downtown residents?” asked one community member during a public discussion of the matter after the item was removed from the evening’s consent agenda to allow for public comments.
“If so, why are you making yet another thing to discourage our ability to live conveniently downtown? Eliminating parking spaces and adding fees to us just makes it harder and harder for us to stay downtown, work downtown, live downtown …”
According to city officials, the resolution authorizes five main changes, which they say were not meant to be drastic but rather measured and reasonable.
Once rolled out, the resolution will allow 72-hour parking in the public lot located near Cooper and Eighth Street. Additionally, the city is working to amend its existing agreement with Garfield County to create four-hour parking in the shared city-county parking lot at Colorado and Seventh Street. That lot would also not allow residential parking permits to be utilized.
The resolution would also eliminate visitor-parking passes within the city’s general improvements district (GID). An overlay in the city’s downtown area, the GID was first approved in 1980 and allows development without requiring parking.
“The changes that we are talking about implementing are very minor, actually,” Councilor Steve Davis said at the meeting.
“The fee is not about pay to park,” he explained. “The fee is about an administrative fee because the police department gets the burden of issuing the permit, and then tracking those permits throughout the year and sending out renewal notices at the end of the year and then issuing new permits …”
Those residing in the downtown area and certain surrounding areas may purchase a $50 residential parking permit. A maximum of two residential parking permits will be issued per residential unit and would be valid for a maximum of one year, before they would need to be renewed. Renewals would be processed by the original application standards within 30 days of its expiration.
“This is a very measured response to businesses that have been coming to us and asking for some changes,” Councilor Todd Leahy said. “We are trying to strike a balance between business and residential.”
The motion made by Leahy and seconded by Davis was additionally supported by councilor Rick Voorhees and Mayor Michael Gamba.
Councilors Shelley Kaup, Jim Ingraham and Jonathan Godes cast the three dissenting votes.
“In my opinion, what we need to do is look at this more comprehensively,” Kaup said. “The GID district as it is setup now is a problem, because it allows growth and development within that GID boundary, downtown, with just pure exemption from parking.”
The new parking policies will apply to the 700, 800 and 900 blocks of Grand Avenue and Colorado Avenue; the 800 and 900 blocks of Pitkin Avenue; the 700, 800 and half the 900 block of Cooper Avenue; the 700 block of Blake Avenue; the 100, 200, 300, and 400 blocks of Eighth and Ninth streets; the 200, 300 and 400 blocks of Seventh Street; and the 200 block of 10th Street.