Proposed hike in fee for residential parking permits heads to City Commission

From left, Gainesville city commissioners Yvonne Hinson-Rawls, Lauren Poe, Thomas Hawkins, Susan Bottcher and Randy Wells are shown in this May 17, 2012 file photo. The entire commission will take up the fee for residential parking permit at a meeting on Thursday.

Erica Brough/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 11:13 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 11:13 a.m.

A proposed increase in the price renters pay for residential parking permits goes Thursday afternoon to the City Commission.

The commission's Community Development Committee, made up of Commissioners Thomas Hawkins, Yvonne Hinson-Rawls and Randy Wells, recommended the increase at a March meeting. The committee recommended no increase for homestead properties.

The city has mulled price increases and tightened up the distribution system for permits to address concerns that non-residents were obtaining neighborhood parking permits to avoid the higher costs of paying for a permit to park on the University of Florida campus.

The residential parking permit program dates back to 1981 and was established in an effort to prevent commuter parking in neighborhoods near UF. At first, the permits were free to homeowners and residents.

Currently, a permit to park on the street in each of the eight residential parking zones near the UF campus costs $19.50 annually.

The committee's recommendation is to increase annual parking decal costs to $50 for rented homes, apartments and other non-homestead properties in most parking zones. Those are zones 3,4,6,7 and 8, the portion of zone 2 east of Northwest 13th Street, and any additional districts the city may establish in the future.

The recommendation is to raise the annual costs by about five times, to $100, for non-homestead properties in parking zones 1 and 5 and the area of zone 2 west of Northwest 13th Street.

The Community Development Committee deemed zones one and five to be "parking-constrained" areas of primarily student housing that stretch south from University Avenue on the east side of Southwest 13th Street and include University Heights. In zone 1, there were 394 available spaces and 944 permits sold in 2011, according to staff.

The area of zone 2 west of Northwest 13th Street includes student rental homes in the College Park neighborhood.

For homestead properties in all the zones, the fee would be $20 a year or $60 for a three-year permit.

The city also is mulling whether to add funding to bring on three additional parking attendants to increase enforcement- either full-time or as temporary workers for a one-year test period.

The parking issue is scheduled for the City Commission afternoon session, which begins at 1 p.m. at City Hall, 200 E. University Ave.

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