A parking problem that has plagued business owners on Lake Street may finally have a resolution.
Nelson city council passed a temporary license of occupation policy at last week’s council meeting that will offer lease agreements to business owners looking to manage parking.
“The bylaw is to deal with some parking issues that sort of flared up,” said chief financial officer Colin McClure. “One in particular was on Lake Street across from the health co-op. It’s metered on one side and on the other side the city owns the property up until the actual building.”
McClure said on the section that is unmetered, the land is owned by the city and is in a sense “public lands.”
“In a sense it’s public lands so unless we had an arrangements to allow those owners of the buildings to have access to it for their customers or their employees the reality is if someone got there early enough they could park there all day in front of the person’s business,” he said.
The policy which will be applied through out the municipality will lease or rent the parking spot to the business or land owner.
The rate is based on the property value for the land only and a calculation of the square metres they wish to rent.
“It also allows for areas that are further from downtown that may not have as much value for parking and those sorts of things to have a lower lease fee as those that are closer to downtown,” said McClure.
Once the business has entered into an agreement with the city they are able to manage and enforce parking.
McClure said the policy will also target business owners who have put up private parking signs without a lease in place.
Some of the councillors like Deb Kozak were concerned about the impact that rates – from the leases – would have on businesses who currently have agreements.
“There could be a bump up for some people who are currently under lease agreements,” said McClure. “What’s happened is a year or so ago the city had the motion to double the parking rates. A number of businesses that have a lease with the city for the summer time, no body changed that policy.”
The city has a separate patio policy which allows the city to lease parking spots to businesses.
McClure said most of these businesses are on three year annual agreements so it may take some time to get everyone in line with the new policy.
Councillor Paula Kiss suggested that the city look at a lower rate for businesses who enter into a patio lease in the interest of furthering business in the downtown core.