Dillon officials working through kinks in overnight paid parking concept
Ensuring full-time residents aren’t forced to pay for parking unexpectedly remains the biggest sticking point
Dillon officials continue to push forward with conversations surrounding a paid overnight parking system in town, but there are still some issues to address before the program is implemented.
Town Manager Nathan Johnson provided the Dillon Town Council with an update on the plans during a regular work session meeting Tuesday, Aug. 17, in an effort to come to a workable solution to improve the parking situation in town. Johnson said officials have been discussing changes to overnight parking policies since March 2018, and the town has since been slowly moving toward a paid parking program that would require cars to be permitted to stay in town lots overnight.
“The main goal of this is to partner with the community to develop an overnight parking solution to accommodate our residences and businesses because there are condos in town that have deficient parking throughout the town core,” Johnson said.
Johnson continued to explain that another goal of the program is to help clean up existing uses from outside the community that impact parking availability, like visitors leaving their trailers in lots overnight, and to create a secondary revenue stream to support infrastructure projects in the future.
According to the most recent proposal outlined by Johnson, overnight parking permits could be purchased for $20 per night, and residents and businesses in the town center would be able to purchase annual or six-month permits for $300 and $175, respectively.
Community members would need a permit to park at the town’s seven green and blue parking lots from 2-6 a.m., which currently allow free overnight parking on a rotating basis so that they can be plowed in the winter. Johnson said the town could look at modifying the rotating schedule during summer months to ensure there’s enough parking during special events like concerts and holidays. The Marina Park parking lot would serve as an overflow lot when necessary.
The town has been in talks with Interstate Parking, a company that already operates paid-parking kiosks in Breckenridge and Keystone, to facilitate the program. The company would administer the permits, set up the kiosks and enforce the rules in return for 50% of revenue, and there would be no upfront cost to taxpayers to get the program up and running.
The permits would be tracked through license plates, meaning short-term rental owners wouldn’t be able to purchase an annual pass for their renters. Staff did say that the program would allow individuals to book spots in advance. Residents would be able to register two license plates under a single permit under the proposal, but only one vehicle could be parked in a lot overnight at a time.
Council members supported the concept, but they agreed there are problems that still need to be remedied before moving forward.
The biggest sticking point with the proposal is figuring out how to deal with full-time residents in the area who might come home and find that they don’t have their regular parking spots due to short-term renters.
“This has the potential of forcing full-time, working residents to have to buy a pass or pay for parking because there isn’t enough parking, and the people in their condo are doing all these short-term rentals,” council member Karen Kaminski said. “They get home from work, and there’s not a spot for them, and they don’t have a pass, and now they have to pay $20 to park. … If we don’t have a way to support full-time people in the community and ensure they have a spot that they don’t have to pay for, then I think we’ll have some really unhappy people.”
Council members and town staff ultimately decided that local homeowner associations needed to be brought into the conversation in a more meaningful way to help. The council suggested approaching complexes with mass parking lots within the town to search for solutions, such as asking them to prioritize and assign spots for full-time residents to ensure they’re not forced to pay for a town-owned spot unexpectedly.
“It sounds like there is interest in continuing to pursue this, but we need to have another open house where the conversation is more geared toward these deficient or close-to-being deficient spots and say, ‘Here’s the problem we see coming up with your short-term rentals,”’ Mayor Carolyn Skowyra said. “… To me, it seems like the next step needs to be talking with the HOAs and see where everyone stands on finding a solution to the problem. Even if it’s a group setting, get everyone in a room and have five different solutions and say, … ‘Here’s what we think could work for you guys.’”
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