A Platteville Common Council meeting without a discussion of downtown parking is like Valentine’s Day without chocolate.
The discussions Feb. 12 were on parking regulations that are part of the city’s zoning code, not specific parking issues that got more attention in the past year.
The Common Council voted to change portions of the code to regulate private lots, allow rentals of parking spaces on private lots, and require that new parking spaces be constructed of hard surfaces.
The council also voted to require that owners of downtown residential property provide parking within one-fourth mile of the property, or make a payment in lieu of providing parking.
The council decided to hold off on enacting new requirements for providing bicycle parking because, in the words of Ald. Barb Daus, chair of the city Downtown Redevelopment Authority, the proposed regulations “seemed a bit excessive” in several areas.
“There’s nobody on the RDA that opposed bicycle parking, but 10 per viewing space at a funeral home … in this particular ordinance it makes [the bike parking requirement] 50 percent of the car parking requirement,” said Daus.
Community Planning and Development Director Joe Carroll said most cities he researched set the bicycle parking requirement at 5 to 10 percent of the car parking requirement.
Main Street Program Executive Director Jack Luedtke said the Main Street board “is in support of the effort to get bike racks in place in the downtown area, but “the percentage is grossly out of whack. These bike racks are not inexpensive, and to have one or two bikes attached to them is not the image we need.”
The council’s vote excluded parts of the ordinance regulating bicycle parking.
Developer Mark Ihm also questioned the requirement of 0.75 stalls per bedroom in the downtown area.
“I just worry it’s going to end downtown second-floor conversions for vacancy to rental,” said Ihm. “What’s left of downtown is contiguous,” but, he said, the requirement might result in the bulldozing of some buildings for parking space.
Ihm proposed that buildings that were on the original National Register of Historic Places be exempt from the parking requirement.
“You can also lease lots, so it doesn’t have to be contiguous,” said Dalecki. “Some buildings, you just can’t put parking there.”
Daus said the RDA made “significant changes” to the downtown parking portions of the zoning code, including the requirement to provide parking within one-fourth mile of the building.