North Bay Village will hear parking woes and ideas at a workshop later this month to determine solutions to the limited parking issue at a number of condominiums.
Parking has become one of the most pressing concerns in the village, a sentiment echoed by both commissioners and residents at a special commission meeting Tuesday.
“We are very much aware of the parking situation,” Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps said Tuesday. “I am going to stress that it is something we talk about every day. My No. 1 goal for 2015 is to alleviate the parking situation on Harbor Island and Treasure Island because it is becoming a problem in Treasure Island, as well.”
And the issue became the focus of Tuesday’s meeting as two Harbor Island applicants asked for parking variances in their proposals — both of which the commission voted to defer until after the planned Feb. 21 public parking workshop.
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One of the applicants, the Chateau Isle at 7939 West Dr., has grappled with insufficient parking spaces ever since the building lost the spaces in front of the building to the development of MODA at North Bay Village apartments next door.
Chateau Isle residents complained of the headaches involved when they try to find parking late at night. They say parking elsewhere presents safety concerns.
“It has come to the point where living at Chateau Isles is almost impossible if you have an automobile and come home after 9 O’ clock at night,” said resident Alan Weiner. “There is nowhere to put it.”
Weiner says his wife often has to park elsewhere when she comes home at 11:30 p.m. after taking care of her mother. She then has to either walk home by herself or take a cab.
Residents have sought solutions since August and, on Tuesday, proposed a variance that would allow for tandem parking in front of the building.
“This is not a novel idea,” said Amida Frey, an attorney who spoke on behalf of the residents but was not there in his official capacity. “This type of parking exists already on the island. It has been implemented with success.”
Some of the vehicles would have to be parked lined up behind one another and they would be at the will of residents to handle — a solution that Frey admits is not perfect.
The proposal brought before the commissioners also requested the relocation of a handicapped parking spot across the street.
Commissioner Richard Chervony fears approval of the project could create a potential domino effect with parking variance applications.
“I for one, at this point, will not back this project,” Chervony said. “There are rumors that the neighboring properties are looking to see the outcome of this project and if we approve this then they will ask for variances as well.”
Commissioner Wendy Duvall was not present at the meeting, but those in attendance voted unanimously to defer the project.
The brouhaha over parking at the Chateau Isle was not in favor of their neighbors across the street, who also requested Tuesday that the Village grant them a parking variance. Developers at 7940 West Dr. sought approval of a parking plan that would dedicate 20 percent of the spaces to compact parking.
While village code mandates the spaces be 9 by 18 feet, the compact spaces would be 8 by 16 feet. These spaces would not accommodate residents with larger vehicles.
Although the commission had voted previously to approve the plan, they voted unanimously to defer the application.
Chervony questioned if the property would enforce the compact spaces to be used by appropriate-size vehicles. He expressed concerns that the developer would not forgo a potential sale to enforce the size of residents’ vehicles.
Property representatives said the spaces would be allocated for visitors.
“So if anyone is visiting they better be driving a compact car?” Leon-Kreps remarked.
The two proposals raised both issues and ideas that the Village says will be further explored at the parking forum.
“I think we need to get all of the residents involved so we can have a comprehensive solution that if not everyone is on board, that most of the people are on board with,” Vice Mayor Jorge Gonzalez said. “I don’t think we’re going to have 100 percent [in agreement].”
The time and location for the Feb. 21 meeting will be determined and posted at nbvillage.com.