Council agrees to parking modifications during detour

April 7, 2008

Lease agreements approved to create more downtown parking spots

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

Creating more parking spots in the downtown area is something the Delano City Council reviewed and approved at its regular meeting Tuesday.

With the detour for the Highway 12 reconstruction project in place from April through November, a significant concern of the business community has been parking on River Street, which is along the detour route.

From the Bridge Avenue intersection north on River Street, parking will be prohibited for the first 110 feet on both sides of River Street. This will reduce the parking count by 10 spots.

The council agreed to lease agreements for two pieces of land – one being north of the former Finnegan’s Pub and Grill, and the other north of Three Crows Restaurant on River Street.

The first site, located north of the former Finnegan’s, is owned by Vintage Moose, which recently purchased property at the intersection of River Street and Elm Avenue. The property owner has agreed to allow the southern parking stalls in the lot to be used for public parking, creating eight parking spaces.

According to the lease, the city would pay for the removal of the fence that is presently there, striping the lot, and performing any maintenance needed during the term of the lease. Staff estimates this cost to be less than $500.

The second site, owned by BBS Granite, would create an additional four parking spaces north of Three Crows on River Street. Grass in the area will be removed, and a crushed rock surface will be provided. It is estimated this would cost about $2,500.

The council approved both lease agreements, contingent upon the approval of the other parties.

Several no parking zones established during detour

Two no-parking zones along River Street were also approved by the council, and both will take effect Tuesday, April 8.

The first no-parking zone will be on the east side of River Street between Oak and Maple avenues, and the second on the west side of River Street between Park Avenue and Wright County Road 30.

In March, city staff met with representatives of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, located on the River Street detour route. One of the concerns of the detour is the pattern of people parking on the east side of River Street when going to church services or Cherub Corner, then crossing the street mid-block.

Getting rid of parking in this area eliminates people walking across the street mid-block, and potentially getting struck by traffic.

The second area, located just to the north near Central Park, poses the same potential for people crossing the street mid-block and being struck by traffic.

City officials met with the Delano Fourth of July Committee, which was receptive to the idea of no parking along the length of Central Park during the detour.

The committee also requested the city construct fencing along the west side of River Street to direct park users parking in the parking lots to the marked crosswalks in order to cross River Street. A cost estimate on the fencing will be prepared and presented to the council in the future.

City waives fees for Hwy. 12 land use applications

At the meeting Tuesday, the council agreed to a policy that will waive fees for land use applications submitted between Jan. 1 and May 1 of this year for requests that specifically result from the Highway 12 reconstruction project.

The project, which involves widening the right-of-way through the community, is affecting properties operated for business use.

In some instances, the increased taking of right-of-way is resulting in non-conforming parking lots and setbacks. Also, parking counts for certain lots are being reduced, and businesses need approval to replace lost parking spaces.

Several businesses have already gone through the land use review process, and a number of others are also seeking approvals at this time. This policy would include land use approvals for Janzen Auto Body, Delano East Shopping Center, State Farm Insurance, Crow River State Bank, Delano Dodge, and potentially others.

“We certainly want to help in any way we can,” commented Mayor Joe McDonald.

The cost of the application process to the city involves mailing of notices and review time by the city. These costs will be allocated to the appropriate general fund budget items.

No time limits for downtown parking

The council also noted there were several signs in the downtown area about two-hour parking.

These were installed after an ordinance was passed in 2005 stating the council can identify areas and place parking restrictions on the areas.

This was reviewed recently by the public safety committee, which recommended no parking restrictions in the downtown area, and removing the signs that are presently up.

“You don’t want to discourage people from coming downtown,” McDonald said. “It’s a good problem to have parking issues.”

It was noted the snow ordinance is a separate ordinance, and is not affected by this action – and will be enforced during the appropriate times.

It was also noted that deputies will have other issues to address, including traffic control and speed on the detour route, that would take priority over enforcement of any two-hour parking designation.

Do you know more about this subject, or have a comment? E-mail news@hjpub.com