By Barb McKay
Kincardine’s core streets could soon get a little busier.
That’s because council decided during last Wednesday’s meeting to amend its parking policy to allow residential developers to make payment in lieu of parking to the municipality if they are unable to provide enough onsite parking for tenants. A policy already exists for commercial parking spaces at a one-time rate of $1,875 per space. Council approved a new payment in lieu of parking rate for multi-residential use at $2,800 per space.
The policy change centered around a request by Princes Court owner Max Ryan to use on-street parking for tenants of the newly rezoned apartment building on Princes Street because he does not have enough spaces in the onsite parking lot to accommodate everyone if the building is full. Princes Court has 27 units but only 12 parking spaces, however a verbal agreement with Bruce Power allows Ryan to use six parking spaces at the adjacent Bruce Power training facility.
Kincardine’s parking bylaw also requires residential developers to provide 0.25 parking spots per unit to accommodate visitors. Ron Davidson, a land use planner representing Ryan, told council that with the municipality’s new rate for parking Ryan would be expected to pay $61,600 for 22 parking spaces. (The municipality did not take into account the spaces provided at the Bruce Power training facility).
“That’s high,” he said. “That’s a heck of a lot of money for any small business owner.”
Davidson said the apartment units at
“These units are not very conducive to having guests over,” he said. “That’s a lot of money for him to pay for parking he doesn’t need, because they (spaces) won’t be used.”
Council played around with a number of scenarios to try and accommodate Ryan. Mayor Larry Kraemer suggested lowering the payment in lieu of parking rate for multi-residential property owners, particularly since
“We really very much want visitors coming here and I have no issues with visitors parking in public spaces; that’s what they’re there for,” he said.
Kincardine’s building and planning manager, Michele Barr, said $2,800 better reflects the cost to maintain the spaces than the previous rate, but suggested that the municipality could simply charge Ryan $1 for each of the required visitor spaces. That way it wouldn’t have to alter its zoning bylaw. But some councillors were concerned that making an exception for Ryan would set a precedent.
“Once other developers learn that Max Ryan is paying $1 for visitor parking, they’re going to want it too,” said councillor Jacqueline Faubert.
She stressed that exemptions or significantly reduced fees for visitor parking could encourage multi-residential developers to become more lax in their planning for onsite parking, which could cause serious congestion on streets that are already busy, such as Huron Terrace.
Other councillors agreed.
“We have to look at this as a precedent we’re setting for all developers,” she said. “$61,000 for parking forever isn’t a large fee in my opinion.”
In the end, council made an exemption and bent to Davidson’s pleas, allowing Ryan to use the parking spaces at the municipality’s old rate of $1,875. They will, however, require him to purchase 22 spaces. The lower rate gives him a savings of $20,000.
Councillor Ken Craig said the question still remained that as residential developers choose to pay for on-street parking, would the municipality have enough spaces?
“If someone is buying the space and we’re taking money from them then we better find spaces for them,” he said.
Council acknowledged that it needs to increase municipal parking in the downtown core. Barr said staff is looking at options for overnight parking and council indicated that it could look building a reserve fund for an additional public parking lot.