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City Council is taking another look at downtown parking

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River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Community Development Director Dennis Darnold and City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick are working on possible revisions to the city ordinance that requires business owners to provide additional off-street parking if they expand their businesses.

Darnold told the City Council on April 18 that he would like to exempt owners of downtown businesses from the ordinance if the changes they make result in demand for only a few more parking spaces.

Currently, Chapter 255-48 of the City Code allows the City Council to waive the parking requirements for new or expanded structures in the downtown central business district.

In the past year, the council has received several waiver requests from downtown businesses wishing to expand.

Darnold recommended not requiring additional off-street parking or waiver to the ordinance for small additions or remodeling projects that would create demand for 10 or few additional parking spaces.

Additions completed to bring a building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act also shouldn't require more off-street parking, Darnold said in a memo to the council.

He also recommended amending the off-street parking ordinance to:

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  • Define what is meant by "building enlargement" and "increase in customer capacity or intensity of use;"

  • Provide that an increase in use of a property has a similar effect as the enlargement of a building;

  • Establish reasons for waiving the parking requirement and for denying requests for waivers.

    Council members authorized Darnold and Munkittrick to proceed with drafting proposed amendments to the ordinance, but didn't commit to approving them once drafted.

    Council President Scot O'Malley said there remains a shortage of parking in the downtown that the city must address.

    District 3 Alderman Paul Radermacher said the council's Public Safety Committee is studying ways to increase parking, including the construction of a ramp.

    Mayor Jack Breault indicated that diagonal parking on the north side of Locust Street might be feasible and would help alleviate any parking shortage.

    Randy Hanson can be reached at rhanson@rivertowns.net

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