Council to revisit stacked-parking proposal

Several changes have been incorporated into the ordinance since an earlier version was introduced in May.

By: Jennifer Potash
   The Princeton Borough Council will hold a public hearing tonight on an ordinance to allow stacked parking in the three downtown parking garages.
   The meeting will start a half-hour later than usual, at 8 p.m., so the council can finish evaluations of key borough staff members during closed session.
   As part of the negotiated development agreement between Palmer Square Management and the borough permitting the 97-unit luxury townhouse Hulfish North development to proceed, the council agreed to go forward with an ordinance allowing for stacked parking.
   The practice can involve several methods — valet or attendants who park cars tightly front to end; individual drivers who park the cars themselves and work out an arrangement for moving them; and tandem parking, limited to drivers who park their vehicles one behind the other. The council introduced this ordinance on Sept. 28 to replace a previous version introduced in May.
   The Princeton Regional Planning Board, which proposed changes to the first version of the ordinance, reviewed the latest ordinance on Oct. 7 and unanimously endorsed it with some minor adjustments.
   The ordinance now before the Borough Council includes changes recommended by the Planning Board that limit stacked parking to Palmer Square’s two garages and the new municipal parking garage and do not allow new development applications to count stacked parking in the site plan parking requirements. The council also amended the ordinance by deleting a provision to sunset the ordinance in 2009 and adding a provision to allow for tandem parking at Palmer Square’s request.
   Palmer Square would like to include tandem parking — allowing the registered occupants of a single housing unit to park their two vehicles front to back in a single space — in its revised Hulfish North plan, according to David Newton, vice president of Palmer Square Management.
   Borough Engineer Carl Peters has said, due to space limitations inside the Hulfish Street garage, it is likely that just the permit-only portion of the garage could be used for stacked or tandem parking.
   Councilman Roger Martindell has raised objections to the ordinance, contending that stacked-parking options in the privately owned garages will draw motorists looking for a parking space away from the borough’s garage.
   Some Palmer Square residents, who pay $155 a month for parking, raised concerns that stacked parking will be forced upon the existing tenants.