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Huntington downtown parking changes to get public hearing

Parking changes in downtown Huntington will get a

Parking changes in downtown Huntington will get a public hearing on March 21, 2017. Credit: Johnny Milano

Changes designed to help curb the parking crunch in downtown Huntington will soon get the public’s opinion on proposed efforts such as requiring developers of apartments over stores in commercial zones to provide on-site or nearby off-site parking for residents.

The town board on Tuesday is to set a public hearing to discuss legislation to revise the town’s parking code.

“There comes a point where you can’t keep using the same municipal parking lot for everything,” town board member Susan Berland said. “What we need to do is make sure if you are building apartments over stores you’re providing parking spaces for those apartments.”

Developers will have to provide one spot for each apartment, which is less than what is normally required when building new apartments. Parking would need to be provided at the development or within 1,500 feet of it.

Berland, co-sponsor of the measure with board member Tracey Edwards, said town officials don’t want to make bringing more apartments to the downtown area prohibitive.

As part of the proposed amendment, municipal lots would no longer be used to calculate residential parking for apartments over stores. The use of municipal lots would continue to be counted for the commercial component of the mixed use development.

Berland said the amendment will address the increased demand on parking associated with new residential development of apartments over stores in the general business district zone such as around the busy stretches of New York Avenue and Main Street.

“We can no longer permit the use of municipal lots to calculate spaces for residential use,” Berland said. “To free up much needed parking spaces, builders must provide the requisite number of parking spots for apartments either on-site or within the required distance.”

She said developers will have the option of buying a parcel within 1,500 feet of the proposed building to create a parking lot, but that lot can’t be already be zoned residential.

“We have been hearing from our residents for a long time that we need to address the parking challenges until we can either finance or secure a public private partnership to construct a parking garage,” Edwards said.

The town board will set the public hearing during its 2 p.m. meeting Tuesday.

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