In the absence of a borough manager, he and recreation director Gregor Saulsbery have been researching the borough-owned parking lots, and the documents that dictate parking there.
They’ve found answers to some questions posed by local business owners regarding the leasing of borough-owned parking spaces. But parking in the borough is still under scrutiny by borough officials. McCartney said their research into the matter is far from finished, and they don’t yet have answers for everything.
Relative to leased parking spaces, here’s what they know:
- The language that legally allows Dormont Borough to lease borough-owned parking spaces is in section 195-24 of Dormont Borough Code—and has been there since council adopted the document on Aug. 2, 1994. The code of the Borough of Dormont is available on the borough’s website.
- Although that clause has been in the code since 1994, it was not activated until last year, when First Commonwealth Bank approached the borough with a request to lease spaces for customers. When First Commonwealth made the request, former assistant borough manager Ian McMeans researched and developed a cost schedule for leasing parking spaces. The cost for leasing spaces was added to the fee schedule, which was approved by council last summer.
- Six borough-owned parking spaces have been leased: two to First Commonwealth Bank and four to Dormont Appliance in the Illinois lot. The spaces are leased at $100 per month, per parking space. The lease for Dormont Appliance expires in July.
The 10-space Illinois lot has been the main topic of parking discussion at recent council meetings, because it serves several businesses on West Liberty Avenue.
Business owners in the area argued that by leasing spaces in the Illinois lot, the borough was losing money when compared to what could be collected if the meters were used at all 10 spaces. But total collections from January 2011, compared to those in January 2012, don’t prove that argument.
In January 2011, when meters were used at all 10 spaces, the Illinois lot generated $270.30. In January 2012, the six metered spaces in the lot generated $97—and the four leased spaces generated $400.
It looks good on paper, McCartney said, but that’s not the only thing borough officials want to look at.
“You’ve got to balance that out against the indirect effects that has had on small businesses,” McCartney said. “Relative to the Illinois lot, that was not carefully thought out.”
No other borough-owned spaces have been leased. McCartney and Saulsbery said no other spaces will be leased, although some borough-owned spaces might be affected by the expansion of #1 Cochran’s Nissan dealership on West Liberty Avenue.
“We’re not leasing spaces until we develop a plan,” McCartney said. “The Traffic and Parking Planning Commission is involved with doing this right now, and we’re looking at developing a policy that is not ‘one size fits all.’ I don’t know what they’re going to come up with right now, but I’m hoping nothing in smaller lots is leased. Hopefully they develop the maximum numbers (of spaces) that can be leased.”