Off-street village parking fee eliminated

— The village board of trustees at its Nov. 10 meeting unanimously approved a new local parking law that eliminated the previous off-street parking fee for village businesses and scaled back the requirement for off-street parking spaces.

The law put to rest more than two years of conflict between local businesses and the village board.

“We feel this is a well-conceived and fair law,” said Trustee Mary Sennett, a member of the parking committee, in a statement prior to the public hearing. “Recognizing that the economic climate is different today than when the law was previously changed [in 2009], the off-street parking fee has been eliminated. In an effort to support economic development, businesses in the downtown district can increase demand for parking, with one exception, without a penalty.”

Local Law No. 3 of 2011 — to amend the village code concerning off-street parking and the Parking Trust Fund — replaces the previous “off-street parking space fee” of $7,500 per space to having no fee to businesses for a lack of required parking spaces, and reduces the requirement for off-street parking spaces to apply only to structures that provide housing or overnight accommodations, such as residences, hotels or bed & breakfasts. A property owner who modifies a structure but does not add habitable units is not subject to the new requirement.

The law also keeps intact the village’s Parking Trust Fund, which is financed by the gross receipts of parking pay stations and parking passes from the central municipal parking lot and the Fennell Street parking lot, the renovation of which currently is being discussed by the board.

The law is the result of months of discussion, drafting, and debate by the board’s ad hoc parking committee, comprised of Trustees John Cromp and Mary Sennett, Skaneateles Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sue Dove and chamber members Bob Eggleston and Arnie Rubenstein (with input from local business owners Sarah and Peter Wiles).

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