Time's Up

Time's Up

(Staff Photo: Richard Davis) The parking lot serving establishments such as Jose's, Hog Haus and Hammontree's was moderately populated during the lunch hour on Tuesday, Nov. 30. The Fayetteville City Council is due to review the Entertainment District parking plan at its Dec. 7 meeting.

Initial review period nearly over for pay parking

By Richard Davis

TFW Staff Writer

If you like lengthy city council session with loads of public comment and potentially heated debate, Dec. 7 is a good bet for a satisfaction payoff.
Yep, the 90-day review period for pay parking in the Entertainment District is coming to a end, and chances are the Fayetteville City Council will at least make some tweaks to the program on Tuesday. There’s also a good likelihood some business owners, patrons and residents will show up to voice concerns, questions, support, complaints and a variety of opinions.
You might want to caffeine up if you attend this one.
At the council’s agenda session on Tuesday, Nov. 30, city staff made some recommendations for the parking plan. After retailers and restaurateurs threw up an outcry against the program, the city council approved shortening the pay parking period, rolling back the start time for paying from 10 a.m. to the later hour of 2 p.m. However, that shortening of pay hours had a built-in sunset clause for the rollback to expire on Dec. 7.
During the agenda session, Don Marr, the mayor’s chief of staff, recommended the council approve the amendment drafted by City Attorney Kit Williams to repeal the sunset clause — meaning parking would remain free until 2 p.m. This is likely good news for restaurant owners in the Entertainment District looking to stay competitive for lunchtime business.
Also in the works for the meeting, city staff recommended altering the fees for parking violations — currently stair-stepping from $10 to $15 to $25 for first, second and third offenses — to a flat $15 per incident, once every four hour period. Since the pay parking period runs from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., a full-day offender would only rack up $45 under that plan, as opposed to the $50 currently in place. Oddly, four-hour offenders and eight-hour offenders will pay $5 more each for their violations under this proposal. Of course, a patron could just dodge the issue all together by paying $5 up front for a full day of parking.
Other parking related issues will be discussed at the Dec. 7 meeting, including cost estimates for weather covers for the pay parking stations and two months worth of HMR (hotel, motel, restaurant tax) numbers for the Dickson Street area. The HMR tallies could provide some insight into the impact the pay parking plan has had on Entertainment District businesses.
City staff will also provide a time lapse look at crowds attempting a “mass exodus” from the parking lot following a show at the Walton Arts Center. Some delays and logjams have apparently occurred following big events, including difficulties with vehicles’ attempts to exit being stymied by the lights at the intersection of Dickson Street and West Avenue.

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