By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
Calling the situation out of control, Asbury Park City Council members, residents and business owners agreed at last week’s council meeting that something needs to be done sooner rather than later about the lack of parking in the city’s Central Business District.
Mayor John Moor directed the city manager and Transportation Manager Michael Manzella to sit down with city professionals, including the planner and engineer, to submit to him several options for alleviating the lack of parking. He gave them 60 days to deliver the options.
“I want a half dozen plans, don’t come back with just one,” he said.
One of those could include the building of a parking deck at 607 Mattison Avenue, put forth by developer Carter Sackman, of Sackman Enterprises, as part of a 97 residential unit building.
That plan would be a collaboration between Sackman Enterprises, Inc. and the city.
Moor said that would be a long term, possibly five year project.
“We need something short term,” the mayor said.
The mayor’s directive at the meeting comes after a group of 601 Bangs Avenue residents attended the last Planning Board meeting to complain about a Sackman Enterprises proposal to build a project at 527 Bangs Ave. that would add 42 residential units.
The plans only include 15 parking spots, which would leave a deficit of 48 spaces of the 63 mandated spots.
Sackman would pay the required $15,000 per space parking fee for the 48 spaces.
That amount had been raised from $13,000 in the beginning of this year.
Currently developers are required to provide one and a half parking spots per unit or pay $15,000 toward the parking fund for the building of a parking garage in the CBD.
The parking fee money has been collected only sporadically over the years Moor said at the council meeting.
Moor and Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton said they were reviewing upcoming construction plans in the CBD, which normally take several parking spots away for extended periods of time.
“There’s too much construction and no parking,” Moor said.
He said the CBD is not providing parking because the ordinance states that parking is only required of residential construction and not commercial construction.
Moor also said if all the projects proposed for the CBD were constructed at the same time, the city would lose many spots to make room for construction equipment. He also noted that because the city and the developers are complying with city ordinances there is not much the city can do.
“Everyone is doing what they are supposed to, something has to be done,” he said.
Moor also agreed with residents that the CBD parking guidelines should be changed.
Referring to the last Planning Board meeting where several residents expressed their concerns about congestion in the downtown area, Moor said, “How bad Monday night was, it going to get worse.”
Clayton agreed,”There are so many plans coming online.”