Following are the notes from the Haywood Road Corridor Committee, Vision Plan meeting on economic growth and parking. A pdf of these notes is available here.

Haywood Road Vision Plan Meeting Notes 2/8/12

The meeting was held at the West Asheville Recreation Center located at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Haywood Road.

The focus of the meeting was challenges to economic growth especially a lack of parking at critical locations along the corridor.

The ability was discussed as a threat to using private parking lots without an official agreement. It was noted that for the customers along the corridor, it is confusing to know if parking in off-street lots is allowed. In downtown by specific ordinance language, if a private owners will tow unauthorized car from their lot they must post the site and provide information where towed cars can be retrieved. This requirement is not in place in all commercial areas and is not required by the current ordinance (Ordinance 3057) which is specific to the Central Business District and Biltmore Village. This was discussed as a useful wording amendment to include other commercial areas.

A map of the corridor was reviewed for potential parking lots that may be available after hours or during the week (in the case of churches). Upon reviewing a map there are quite a number of lots that could be investigated for interest on the part of the property owners. More work need to be done with the map to identify locations. Creating a database of potential lots for further research and discussion as the this issue progresses was noted as a next step.

The City has provided leadership in the parking issue especially for the downtown area, and would need the policy support from City Council to expand this role into other areas of the City. A case could be made for west Asheville and other pedestrian districts that long-term this could stimulate private expansion and business development just as the parking program has for the downtown area. Parking Services is an enterprise fund and it would be expected to operate at a profit at the beginning especially. The parking situation may not need City leadership however and a private entrepreneur may be able to secure parking lots for lease on a daily or monthly basis as a business.

Issues related to shared parking arrangements include liability and maintenance, signage (public parking) which were mentioned as items to be worked out. WABA was noted as a potential partner for this aspect of the shared parking arrangements.

It was also noted that since quite a number of the potential shared lots are currently residential zoned so a wording amendment would be needed to allow the shared use with a commercial entity or the general public. Depending on the location, additional landscaping may also be required.

Someone mentioned they use a biking benefits program among their customers since parking is a challenge for them. The bikers get a discount on the bill because they arrive by bike. It seemed that a program like that could have broader appeal among businesses along the corridor.

Also discussed as an idea is to not require off-street parking for Haywood Road businessesin a similar way the two sections of CBD (central business district) zoned areas are not required to provide off-street parking. The businesses will attempt to provide some parking for their staff and customers as is generally the case in downtown but they would not ‘have’ to provide it. This may encourage additional investment along the corridor. It was noted that a change like that of this kind of program would need the approval of the City Council and may be justified if additional shared parking lots were secured to alleviate the parking needs as was previously discussed.

The group discussed next steps which included additional work on the map to identify potential shared parking locations; decision-making on Plan priorities, and preparing for a large community meeting to share where the Plan is heading and to offer and opportunity for comment by the community.

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