CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville's Downtown Business Association is growing concerned about deadlocked negotiations over parking. The battle between the city and the owner of the Water Street Parking Garage could take a major toll on retailers and the city's economy.

Water Street Parking Garage will close indefinitely on May 6 if the board that controls it fails to approve a budget.

The Water Street Parking Garage Condominium Association actually owns the structure people park in.  It is made up of four people from Charlottesville Parking Center (CPC) and four from the city.  CPC owner Mark Brown is a member and owns the garage's land as well as some spaces. 

On April 6, Brown reminded the city it is in default of its agreement with CPC if it doesn't approve a budget in line with higher 'fair market rates' he has proposed. 

Businesses are worried the back and forth between the two will damage downtown's economy. The Downtown Business Association wrote a letter to city council and Mark Brown, pleading for an agreement.  

"It’s a bad situation that it’s even gone this far and somehow it has to be resolved. We're not interested in who wins or who loses, that's not the point as long as the citizens of downtown and the merchants don't lose,” said Downtown Business Association Chairman George Benford. 

At this point, the city has less than 30 days to decide what to do. On May 6, the agreement will be terminated and Charlottesville Parking Center would lock up the garage.

Right now, Brown is suing the city over its reluctance to set hourly rates for the Water Street Parking Garage that are the same as Market Street Parking Garage, which the city owns outright.

On Tuesday, the city of Charlottesville issued the following statement, quoting city attorney Craig Brown: 

“I assume the “rumors” of closure of the Water Street Parking Garage are a result of the April 6th letter Charlottesville Parking Center (“CPC”) sent to the Water Street Parking Garage Condominium Association, wherein Mr. Mark Brown stated that “CPC cannot continue to serve as managing agent for the balance of the term of the Agreement without the required authorization from the Association”.  (The managing agent operates the Water Street Garage on behalf of the Condominium Association)   The “authorization” that he refers to is authorization to incur expenses in operating the garage.  CPC has been asked to submit their projected expenses so that they can be approved by the Association Board of Directors.”