Dillon moving forward with paid overnight parking system
Dillon is pushing ahead with plans to introduce a new paid parking model for individuals hoping to leave their cars in town-owned lots overnight, a move intended to help to address issues in the lots and provide a revenue stream to fund infrastructure projects in the future.
Dillon Town Council held a conversation on the topic during a regular work session meeting with staff Tuesday, May 4, and voiced a desire to move forward with some kind of permitting system in the town’s overnight parking lots.
“We’ve been talking about parking issues regularly for decades,” council member Brad Bailey said. “We will continue to talk about parking for decades as we continue to grow, and I think we all can be in some agreement that baby steps are kind of how we do this until we build a parking garage at some point. … To me, the overnight parking issue is a good place to start because it just affects the volume of cars that stay in town and regulates space for locals and visitors.”
Dillon currently offers free overnight parking in seven rotating lots throughout the town core, but a number of issues have arisen over the past few years, including individuals using the lots for storage parking and locals who need the lots being displaced by visitors.
The goal of adding in some kind of pay-to-stay mechanism would be to keep the town ahead of anticipated growth, mitigate storage issues, promote a multimodal and pedestrian friendly environment, and help to quantify residential parking deficiencies throughout the core area.
“I think it’s a combination of being proactive, but then also controlling and mitigating some of these issues,” Town Manager Nathan Johnson said. “As we heard from the community about different issues, one of the easiest things for us, especially with overnight parking, is to collect data as to who’s parking in these lots so we can see if there’s any correlation between who’s parking there and whatever is going on — maybe it’s criminally, maybe not — with some of these issues. But then also, if you look at Summit County as a whole and where we’re at with overnight parking, we have a lot of things that we really don’t want in the town core as we move forward to redeveloping.”
The plan is to hire on a third-party company to handle the issuance and enforcement of permits for overnight parking at the sites. Kerstin Anderson, Dillon’s marketing and communication director, said staff identified a potential contractor in Interstate Parking, a company already operating out of Breckenridge and Keystone.
The company would install its kiosks and parking app at no up-front cost to the town and would operate the service — including enforcement — for 50% of the revenue generated. The company’s proposal recommends charging $10 per night for parking, though officials haven’t landed on any final numbers. For comparison, Keystone currently charges $20 per night for overnight parking, and Breckenridge charges $5 per night during the week and $10 per night on weekends, according to a staff memo sent to the Town Council.
Some residents rely heavily on the free overnight parking lots in town because their complexes don’t have any dedicated parking of their own, and they feel the move could be detrimental. One of those residents, Josh Ryks, tuned into the council meeting Tuesday night to share his thoughts with officials. He said the lots usually only fill up during special events in town, like concerts or the Ice Castles, and what the town really needs is an option for residents to leave their cars overnight for longer periods of time.
“It won’t help me whatsoever to just be going back and forth and paying for a permit while still having the same problems of not having a place to leave my car for the weekend if I go hang out with a friend or if I’m sick,” Ryks said. “… It just seems like I’m paying to do the same thing I’ve been doing the last five years.”
Once a system is in place, the town will offer long-term permit options for residents and short-term rental owners to pass off to their guests.
“I’ve heard some things that I think are important, having some sort of longer-term parking option — whether it’s a week option or a month or a year — and having the prices not necessarily set at $20 a night for a resident who needs to buy a permit,” Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said.
The pricing model for what a long-term permit might look like is unclear. In passing, Skowyra mentioned a possible $1,000 price tag for a yearlong permit, while council member Renee Imamura suggested it should be a heftier cost like $10,000 a year. Anderson said the town would look into best practices in comparable communities to help determine the final prices.
Even with a long-term permit, individuals would still be required to move their cars to different lots in the rotation throughout the week.
Regardless of what prices the town ultimately lands on, the program would help to fund future infrastructure projects in town, including a parking garage.
“Deterring the campers and all that from parking in our lots is important,” Skowyra said. “But I think building a parking garage is equally important, and I think this is a revenue stream for doing that.”
Anderson said a parking garage would be a reality one day, but it’s likely several years down the road based on the town’s current financial outlook.
The new parking system will likely be implemented some time in mid- to late summer, according to Anderson.
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