New Albany officials more swiftly can enact regulations regarding public parking, thanks to a new ordinance.
The ordinance, approved by all New Albany City Council members present Aug. 5, allows individual changes to public parking through policy rather than code changes. Mayor Sloan Spalding and Colleen Briscoe were absent.
The policy also would give the New Albany-Plain Local School District and Plain Township greater ability to regulate their public spaces. The code adjustment would not apply to public street spaces.
The ordinance was created in response to concerns about the effect Market and Main II, a 48,000-square-foot commercial building at 160 W. Main St., could have on city parking.
City Manager Joe Stefanov said officials have heard from neighboring businesses, which expressed reservations about the increase in traffic and parking availability as a result of Market and Main II, which is being developed in a joint venture between the Daimler Group and the New Albany Co. and is expected to open in October.
The combination of offices and retail space and the resulting employees and customers would push the limits of the available parking in the area, Stefanov said.
Several businesses will call Market and Main II home, including Wallick Communities, which will move its headquarters from Columbus just south of Reynoldsburg, bringing 90 jobs with it.
Wallick will be joined by other businesses including Columbus Obstetricians-Gynecologists Inc.; Board & Brush Creative Studio; Hayley Gallery; PetPeople; and Truluck Boutique.
Restaurants coming to Market and Main II include Freshii and Nosh Eatery & Creative Catering, according to New Albany Co. spokeswoman Lisa Hinson.
The city has a 451-space public-parking lot behind the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, and it extends behind the Mellow Mushroom pizzeria and the Hudson 29 restaurant, Stefanov said.
Adjacent parking behind the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, the Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern, Starbucks and the rest of Market Square is private, he said.
Policing the ordinance would depend upon policies city officials decide to put in place, Stefanov said.
The city could establish a permitting process, for example, or prohibit specific types of users or enact a time limit, he said.
With respect to the 451-space lot behind the Heit Center, the city first would approach New Albany High School students who park there to avoid paying for school district-issued permits, Stefanov said.
He estimated 30 students park there.
City officials first would encourage students to park in district-approved areas and ask for voluntary compliance before taking any other action, Stefanov said.
Developing guidelines to manage city parking lots makes sense, council member Mike Durik said, and the balanced enforcement of any regulations would take dedication.
The city in the future will have to decide whether it wants to be in the "parking lot" business in the future, he said.