Here’s the deal – the City of Chamblee, Ga, an Atlanta burb with 10,000 people, has a highway running through town so in the finite wisdom they decided to beautify the area and gentrify the neighborhood to make it a 20-year vision to transform the five-lane state highway into an attractive live-work-play corridor. Now one of the businesses there wants to expand his parking lot but can’t because you might be able to see the cars from the street. Read all about it here. I have read the article, including between the lines, and let me parse it for you here:
Chamblee went through a rough patch and some factories downtown or on the periphery of the city went out of business. The city council a few years back praised one business man who opened a health club in one of the empty factories and hired 75 people. The business took off and now he needs more parking in order to keep his 4000 customers happy.
In comes the beautification committee and whoops, no can do. Now these rules may or may not have been in place when you bought the building and spent the money growing your business, but by God they are in place now. If you thought you didn’t have enough parking, you should have put your business in some other town. After All, Wal Mart and IHOP followed the rules, so should he. All those praises we gave you when you cleaned up that broken down factory be dammed. The single dissenting vote on the council said that some leeway in the 20 year plan should be allowed in this economy. Right On.
It seems to me that a surface parking lot is a potential temporary use anyway. Half the buildings in LA are built on former parking lots, as are parks, sports venues and the like. If this is a 20 year plan, how about a 10 year temporary use, with the proviso that it goes away and he has to build a structure on his existing lot in the mean time.
The owner with his 75 employees and 4,000 customers is frustrated – “I don’t see how parking hurts anything,” he said. “We are trying to stimulate the economy and we’re being stuffed by the government.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.