By Andrew Wroblewski
Three proposals to build one or more multi-level parking structures in downtown Huntington were submitted to the town last week as part of a request for proposal issued in November. Meanwhile, the Huntington town board also approved several changes to downtown Huntington parking policies last week.
Town spokesman A.J. Carter confirmed Wednesday that the town received the requests, but could not provide details on those who submitted them. He did say, however, that the three proposals total 425 pages, call for multi-million dollar, mixed-use structures and will soon be reviewed by the town’s Huntington Village Parking Committee.
“These appear to be very detailed and well thought out proposals that will require some diligent review,” Carter said.
At least two of the proposals incorporate plans for structures on the municipal lots on Elm and New streets. However, Carter said it is ultimately up to the town board to decide whether one, both or none of the structures are actually built.
Under the original guidelines laid out for potential developers, the town would retain ownership of the land and the developer would pay to build and maintain a structure or structures at either the Elm or New street municipal lots, or both. The developer would own any buildings and pay taxes on them.
The proposals must double the number of spaces displaced, plus add any additional spaces required for new mixed-use development. Elm Street currently has 318 spaces and New Street has 252.
As for the current parking landscape in Huntington village, the town board voted last week to increase Wall Street parking fees, and restructure its town-wide parking fine system.
It will soon cost $1 per hour to park in metered spots on Wall Street between Main and Gerard streets, matching fees charged in the primary parking zones on Main Street and New York Avenue. Patrons can pay in increments of 15 minutes. Metered parking outside the primary zones remains at 50 cents an hour.
The price increase, Carter said, will go into effect once the traditional coin-operated meters on Wall Street are converted into the muni-meters currently found on Main Street and New York Avenue. The existing muni-meters were rolled out in April 2014 and accept both cash and credit cards. Carter said the town’s timetable calls for the new meters to be installed by the end of May.
As for the restructured town-wide parking fine system, violations now carry a uniform $25 fine. Previously, a warning was issued for the first parking offense, and there was a schedule of increasing fines for second and third offenses. That has been eliminated.
The town board approved these changes 4-0 during is April 5 meeting. Councilman Mark Cuthbertson was not present and therefore did not vote.