Dillon considers system to issue overnight parking permits
DILLON — Dillon officials are hoping to roll out a new overnight parking permit system next year that would help to free up town-owned spaces for residents with deficient parking at their apartments and condos.
The town has a number of parking lots available for community members to park for free overnight on a rotating basis, but officials say out-of-town visitors and individuals storing their recreational vehicles in the lots have created issues for residents.
“Clearly, overnight parking in Summit County is becoming few and far between,” said Nathan Johnson, Dillon’s town manager. “We are seeing a lot of people bringing cars from other communities into the town because we have free parking. And we’ve had citizens reach out to town staff from some of these condos that have parking difficulties and that only have certain windows during the day to get a parking spot in town. For now, it’s a concern, especially as we look at what we can do to make our citizen’s lives a little easier.”
Officials are hoping to leverage technology and overnight parking fees to help minimize the impact. The plan is to install app-based parking kiosks at the town’s seven community lots where users would be charged a nightly fee for overnight parking. Other ideas also were kicked around, including a validation program where guests who visited a restaurant or local shops could get discounted or free parking.
Dillon residents would be able to register their license plates with the town and could pay an annual or monthly fee to park overnight in the lots without additional costs.
Council members have given staff direction to move forward with the concept, but there are still a number of details to iron out before the program moves forward, such as which app would work best for the town. Officials also will have to come to a consensus surrounding rate structures that don’t create too hefty a burden for residents and visitors.
“We’ve been doing research at this point, and we want to make it reasonable for residents,” said Kerstin Anderson, Dillon’s marketing and communications director. “We also want to make sure that it’s reasonable for somebody who’s staying at a short-term rental or who decides to leave their car after being out at a restaurant or bar. But at the same time, we want to set a bar so that we’re not just being used as storage for the community at large.”
Anderson said the town is hoping to roll out a new system sometime next spring after staff has had a chance to gather community feedback and have more in-depth discussions with local businesses.
Initial estimates list a $60,000 to $100,000 price tag for the kiosks and license plate readers, along with additional staffing to monitor and enforce the program. It’s unclear at this point what financial impact the parking fees could have for the town, but if successful, the program could provide some backing for future infrastructure projects like a parking garage.
“This starts the discussion we’ve been seeing around the county about parking structures and parking in all circumstances,” Johnson said. “As we start looking forward into the future, one of the things we’re going to have to start evaluating is whether or not we need to build a structure, where would all that be, and how would we fund it? Overnight parking fees could help. It wouldn’t be an end-all, be-all, but it gets us talking about how to mitigate those issues.”
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