Planners argue, compromise on parking
In an often contentious, nearly two-hour meeting, Marion planning and zoning commission members reached a compromise on parking regulations they think will make city council members happy.
Council members Ruth Herbel and Zach Collett and mayor David Mayfield attended the meeting.
At issue, and the chief complaint from Mayfield, was that the planning group’s earlier parking proposal contained a stipulation that property on a paved street must have a paved driveway.
Mayfield said the requirement would cost too much and people would not want to build homes.
He said if he built a $250,000 home, he wouldn’t want to put in a $50,000 driveway.
The group discussed granting conditional-use permits for people who could not afford to pave driveways, but disagreed on that. Some said granting permits would be fine, while others said once a permit was granted, others would have to be granted, too.
“I don’t think we should give conditional use permits every time we turn around,” planning secretary Margo Yates said.
Commission member Bruce Skiles asked whether Mayfield and Collett had suggestions.
Collette said he wanted a compromise.
Mayfield asked why driveways even are included in parking regulations.
“What are we trying to accomplish by having certain spots paved and others not?” Collett asked.
Planning commissioner Darvin Markley said the city needed harmonious development of the community.
“To me, we have to stay with our standards,” Markley said. “I think when we go backward like this, it doesn’t do any good for the community.
After a great deal of disagreement between planners and Collett — Mayfield already had left the meeting — the proposal was rewritten to require businesses to have a 20-foot-wide parking area made of concrete, brick, or asphalt that runs along the front of the building, and residences to have a minimum of a 20-foot paved apron as wide as the garage and a four-foot paved apron at the driveway entrance.
Planners made short work of discussion of hiring a consultant to work with the commission. They scuttled the idea after Collett said the city was considering doing strategic planning and Yates said she had heard unflattering reviews about a consultant planners had been considering.