CHARLESTON -- Issues on the parking along the city square were raised once again during the City Council meeting Tuesday.
Tamara Hayden, a supervisor at One Hope United, spoke to council members on concerns she and others have had about the parking limits on the square specifically around the One Hope United building at 701 Monroe Ave.
Hayden said the traffic flow at One Hope United presents a need for about 40-50 spots most of which are unavailable to One Hope United staff, excluding the 30-minute and 2 hour time restricted spots off and around the square.
She took issue with the fact that staff at One Hope United are having to run out and move their cars so often throughout the day and that they are racking up tickets as a result of the situation on the square.
She suggested allowing staff, especially those coming in from out of town, the ability to have laminated parking passes that would bar those that work at One Hope from getting ticketed in timed spots around a certain section of the square.
“My goal is, possibly, that we can take up that whole side where One Hope United is, there right in front the (Will Rogers Theater) where there is nothing there,” she said.
Parking grievances from businesses along the square have surfaced publicly in the past, most recently in late 2015. Then, a petition was arranged to shed light on business leader concerns for the traffic or lack thereof going to their stores.
Since that time the city has made small changes to the square namely with the inclusion of 30-minute metered parking to select lots.
Scott Smith, city manager, who has investigated the parking along the Square in the past, said Hayden’s specific issue would have to be looked over before he would comment on the viability of her requests.
Charleston Mayor Brandon Combs said parking complaints have been a common problem for the city. He said some of these complaints could not be helped simply because of the sheer limitations of the square as it was built.
Before the parking issue was mentioned, council members OK’d an extension of the building permit fee waiver pilot program to get a better sense of the success or lack thereof in the program.
The program was started at the start of 2016 and has continued since. The program waives all city building permit and plumbing fees normally associated with building a single-family residence in hopes of promoting growth within the city.
After council approval, this incentive program will continue until the end of December. Steve Pamperin, city planner, said the city will reevaluate then whether the program should be extended again, solidified in city code or abandoned.
So far, Pamperin said the city has continued to receive positive feedback from building companies in the area on the incentive waiver. These fees rack up on average $1,700 per home. This is dependent on the size of the home, though.
Pamperin said the city is looking to get a better sense of the trend, whether positive or negative, that the program might have on building in the city.