Rifle business owners oppose parking restrictions | PostIndependent.com

Rifle business owners oppose parking restrictions

RIFLE – Susan Nichols says that new parking restrictions in the downtown area of Rifle are now also restricting customer traffic at her business on West Third Street.Nichols, who owns Nichols Agency of Farmer’s Union Insurance, was one of 21 business owners and employees who signed a petition that was presented to Rifle City Council Wednesday night, protesting the new two-hour parking limits.”We are not asking to re-invent the wheel, we are just asking for re-zoning of that particular block,” Nichols told council.Nichols and the other petitioners say that parking was never a problem west of West Avenue, and with the two-hour parking limit, they are forced to park their vehicles around the corner, making the street look deserted and their businesses closed.The two-hour parking limit, which stemmed from a request by the Downtown Development Authority, was implemented in May. The goal of the ordinance was to free up more parking spaces in the downtown area.”The DDA’s position is that we stay the course and let it stand the test of time,” said Gil Frontella, president of the DDA. “We created the program to increase parking availability – increasing business was not what it was intended for.”Councilor Sandy Vacarro agreed that the retail/commercial businesses on the east end of downtown were different than the more service-oriented businesses on the west side.”Maybe we should take a second look at it,” Vacarro said. “I don’t think we’re so big that we can’t find a compromise – solutions are out there.”Nichols suggested that perhaps the limit should be lengthened to four hours instead of two or allow business owners a sticker to let them park in front of their shops.”At least it wouldn’t look so desolate at that point,” she said.Council members agreed to take another look at the issue with Police Chief Daryl Meisner, the city attorney and city staff and re-visit the issue at the next council meeting on June 21.

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