Planning Board Backs Visitor Parking Pass Ordinance Change

The Planning Board unanimously voiced its support last week for a zoning amendment that will allow residents prohibited from obtaining residential parking stickers to obtain visitor parking passes.

The proposed zoning change was initially brought up by Planning Board member Mimi Rancatore and proposed before the City Council by Council President Roy Avellaneda. The council will take up adoption of the ordinance change when it reconvenes in the fall.

In 2019, the City Council amended the zoning ordinances so that residents of developments that received a special permit due to reduced parking spaces would not be able to take part in the city’s on-street sticker parking program.

“The argument then being that if you are not going to have enough parking onsite and state in front of the Planning Board or the Zoning Board it because your residents or owners won’t have cars, then we felt they should not participate in the resident sticker program,” said Avellaneda. 

However, when the ordinance was passed, the council did not realize it would impact those residents attempting to get a visitor parking pass for guests.

“We didn’t realize that the visitor pass program is also considered to be part of the resident parking program,” said Avellaneda. “When we restricted these very same buildings from participating in the resident sticker program, it also meant that someone like Mimi, who lives in one of these buildings, can’t get a visitor pass, and you know that she has friends and people who want to come and see her. It was a complete oversight and we never intended that to be the situation,”

Avellaneda said he approached the city’s parking clerk to make sure residents of the buildings where parking stickers are prohibited would not be able to abuse the visitor pass program, and was assured there were safeguards in place to prevent that.

Permitting and Land Use Planning Director John DePriest said there are currently 22 sites with a total of 271 residential units that have been approved for parking relief.

“Every time a development gets approved with relief, this list gets longer,” said DePriest. “Under the zoning ordinance, I keep this list and I send it to the City Clerk on a regular basis so that when people come for passes, they know what the addresses are.”

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