Downtown parking was under discussion during the Culver Town Council meeting Tuesday.
The Redevelopment Commission’s working to purchase property at 219 S. Main Street, tear down the existing house, and build a new parking lot. Before that could happen, the Town Council had to rezone the land from Residential R1 to Commercial C2. The rezoning had gotten the recommendation of the Plan Commission, but one local homeowner says it’s not the right place for a parking lot, “The town mandate calls for parking in the rear for downtown. I think we need to have a different parking lot for the town then, not next door to my house that I’ve worked for 20 years to make cute.”
Also at issue are the variances required to allow the lot to be built. Properties with C2 zoning that are located next to a residential zone are supposed to have a 20-foot setback along with proper screening. However, a variance was requested to reduce the setback to only one foot. The Board of Zoning Appeals was scheduled to decide on that yesterday.
There were also concerns about the screening that would be provided for the lot. The project calls for a vinyl fence. Some local residents voiced concern about having it next to their house, but town manager Jonathan Leist says it would meet visibility requirements.
The Town Council voted to approve the rezoning request, but there are still other issues that need to be worked out.
The original estimate for the cost of the project apparently didn’t include the fencing or lighting, which are required parts of the project. The town’s share in the project was increased by about $11,000, meaning the town’s now expected to contribute $74,000. The Redevelopment Commission offered to chip in $2,000, and Town Council members were open to the idea of allocating additional funds to keep the project alive. Kathy Clark, the president of the Redevelopment Commission, says the project’s worth the extra effort, “Frankly, I think the project’s a good project for the town and for everybody concerned. There’s been a lack of parking downtown for so many years.”
Another roadblock between the town and its new parking lot is the fact that the Redevelopment Commission still hasn’t closed the deal on the new purchase. So technically, if the project falls through, another party could purchase it and use it for commercial purposes.
For now, the next step’s for the Redevelopment Commission to work out a deal to keep the project on track. It’s expected to be up for discussion at its meeting at 5:00 p.m. Monday.