New rules for parking fund payments in works

By gloria stravelli
Staff Writer

By gloria stravelli
Staff Writer

RED BANK — Applicants who come before the borough Planning and Zoning boards seeking variances for parking deficiencies will face hefty increases in contributions to the parking utility fund under ordinance amendments by the Red Bank Borough Council.

Approved at the Borough Council meeting Tuesday, the amendments to the borough’s Zoning District Regulations under the Planning and Development Regulations will increase the schedule of charges for development applications that are deficient in meeting the borough’s parking requirements.

The amendments, which apply in Central Commercial Districts 1 and 2, the Waterfront Development Zone and the Business/
Residential Zone-1, will boost per-space contributions to the Municipal Parking Utility Capital Improvement Fund for parking shortfalls and eliminate the current exemption for the first 10 spaces. The affected zones encompass the core downtown business district.

The ordinance takes effect immediately. The changes were approved by the Planning Board earlier this month.

According to the proposed schedule for parking deficiencies, shortfalls of one to five spaces, now exempt, will require a contribution of $500 per space; spaces six-10, now exempt, will require a contribution of $1,000 per space. Additional shortfalls of 11-15 spaces will require a $1,500 per-space contribution; 16-20 spaces, a $2,000 per-space contribution, and deficiencies of 21 or more spaces will require a contribution of $2,500 per space.

Before the schedule was amended, applicants received an exemption for spaces one-10, spaces 11-20 required a $500 contribution per space, spaces 21-40 a $1,000 per space contribution, and shortfalls of 40 or more spaces required contributions of $2,000 per space.

Under the revised schedule, a 22-space parking deficiency will require a contribution of $2,500 for spaces one-five, plus $5,000 for spaces six-10, plus $7,500 for spaces 11-15, plus $10,000 for spaces 16-20, and $5,000 for spaces 21-22, for a total of $30,000.

Planning and Zoning Director Donna Barr said she was asked to research new guidelines for parking deficiency contributions and provide the Borough Council with information on parking variances granted and the contribution required for past development applications.

According to Barr, the differences were significant.

A $2,000 contribution was required for a 14-space deficiency for Red, a restaurant/lounge at 3-5 Broad St., when the new schedule would require $13,500. Riverwalk Development had a 26-space deficiency for a property on West Front Street, which required an $11,000 contribution to the parking fund, when the new schedule would require a $40,000 contribution. Developers of 17 Broad St. were not required to contribute to the fund because the application had a shortfall of only eight parking spaces. Under the new schedule, which does not exempt the first 10 parking spaces, a $5,500 contribution would be required, she said.

Bruce Loversidge, the borough’s chief financial officer, said Barr’s research showed the majority of variances sought involved shortfalls of under 10 parking spaces, requiring no parking fund contribution.

While the applications were increasing parking demand, they were not generating contributions, he noted.

According to Loversidge, the Municipal Parking Utility Capital Improvement Fund was established to provide funds to increase the supply of parking without passing the cost along to taxpayers.

Initially, the revenues were targeted to help offset the cost of a planned parking garage, a proposal that was defeated.

Loversidge said that the revised parking deficiency contribution schedule is a more equitable solution but fees still fall short of the cost of providing parking, which runs the borough approximately $10,000-$15,000 per parking space.

According to Loversidge, the parking fund has accumulated $135,020 strictly from variance fees since it was established in 1999. The funds are dedicated to developing new parking spaces in the borough.