NJ Downtown Fights to retain vitality

You have to read down to about graf 10 before you get to the parking part. This community lobbied its government to do away with parking requirements and “in lieu” parking fees. To wit:

Last fall, Red Bank suspended a parking fee charged to applicants who lacked sufficient parking on their property. Waiving the requirement, which had been in place for 15 years, could save a high-volume use, like a restaurant, from $40,000 to $50,000 for that fee, estimated Mayor Pasquale “Pat” Menna. The fee moratorium ends this year, unless officials decide economic conditions warrant an extension. “Any reduction in cost to open a new business is welcome,” said Nancy Adams, executive director of the River Center business alliance in Red Bank.

This is Shoupista 101. The city had been charging fees to new businesses who didn’t have “enough” parking, that is to meet the code requirements. But that’s the thing, isn’t it. If the goal is to be sure there is enough parking when the restaurant replaces the hardware store, paying a fee instead of providing the parking doesn’t seem to do it. The city justifies it by saying that it will use the money to provide extra parking, but get real, they seldom do.

If they wanted to do so, and really needed the parking, a parking district, where onstreet parking fees were used to provide perhaps an off street lot might be in order. The wise business people of Red Bank, New Jersey saw through the scam and demanded action to save their community. Let’s face it, if a merchant could reduce the costs of opening a store by $50 grand a year, wouldn’t that be helpful in enticing them to locate in that empty building on Main Street?

Way to Go Read Bank.

JVH

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