Development could cause parking problem for Silt
SILT — If development in downtown Silt continues, the town could face an interesting dilemma: finding space for the influx of visitors to park their cars.
The topic arose Monday at the Board of Trustees meeting where trustees approved the first reading of an ordinance that would include outdoor patios, decks and other spaces used for commercial purposes in the gross floor area — a measurement used to calculate the number of parking spaces required for certain structures.
For example, municipal code requires a restaurant or bar to have one off-street parking space for every 200 square feet of commercial gross floor area.
Outdoor areas currently are not included in that calculation, but if the ordinance passes, a new development or an existing business constructing a deck or patio could have to provide additional off-street parking depending on the square footage of the outdoor space.
The change would be a first step in addressing an issue that has the potential to be a problem in the next several years, said Janet Aluise, community development director.
Christian Harra, owner of the popular Miner’s Claim restaurant and bar, said he does not hear many complaints from customers about a lack of parking, noting that there are worse problems than a parking shortage brought on by increased development.
Silt certainly has the potential for growth. Kampgrounds of America — an upscale RV park and campground on the south side of Interstate 70 — is expected to open this spring, and there is room for additional businesses on Main Street.
However, requiring future developers to provide extra parking could discourage businesses from locating in Silt, said Renee Grossman, owner of HighQ.
When Grossman opened her business municipal code required her to have four off-street parking spaces. Luckily she had the space, but it was not paved, which the code requires.
Grossman said she paid around $5,000 to bring the space up to code. For a new business, additional costs could make them think twice about where they choose to locate.
“Anything that’s going to make it more expensive has the potential to discourage a business from coming here,” Grossman said.
Speaking at Monday’s meeting, Mayor Pro-Tem Bryan Fleming expressed concern that requiring additional parking could discourage new outdoor development, which has the potential to attract people driving through town.
Fleming ultimately joined the trustees in approving the first reading of the ordinance without dissent. The ordinance is scheduled to appear before the trustees for a second reading at their April 20 meeting.
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