City Rejects Proposal Over Water Street Parking Garage
Charlottesville is not accepting a proposed settlement over the Water Street Parking Garage. The city says eminent domain is still an option.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Charlottesville is not accepting a proposed settlement over the Water Street Parking Garage.
The city says it still wants to buy spots owned by the Charlottesville Parking Center (CPC) and if not, eminent domain is still an option.
Charlottesville sent a five-page letter to the parking center Wednesday, July 6, saying it will not take a settlement offered by CPC.
The proposal would have extended CPC's management of the Water Street garage by five more years and would let the city set parking rates. However, it also demanded Charlottesville compensate CPC for any revenue lost if the city sets rates lower than market value. Both parties would have been responsible for updating and repairing the garage.
The proposed settlement was to be a resolution to a pending lawsuit filed by CPC President Mark Brown against Charlottesville over parking rates for the garage, and the city's countersuit seeking a trial by jury.
"I definitely think they have been trying to bully us, trying to rush us. They've been threatening the public and have been creating an atmosphere of false crisis," said Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer.
"We want to do what's best for the public and that's accessible, affordable parking. And that's always been our bottom line," said Charlottesville City Councilor Kathleen Galvin.
In response to a settlement offer, the city said it would like to buy the parking center's spots in the garage based on an almost $3 million appraisal by the CPC.
Charlottesville is in the early stages of using eminent domain, which began with a separate appraisal of spots owned by the CPC in the Water Street garage.
“If the city has decided to continue with their eminent domain case then that's obviously going to just do nothing but escalate an already bad situation and make it much worse," said CPC General Manager Dave Norris.
Norris is not happy with City Hall's response, saying the tone of the city’s letter is not helpful nor is it encouraging.
"We've just come to the conclusion unanimously that one party ought to basically be controlling the destiny of the spaces in the garage," Signer said.
The city would also let the parking center manage the garage for another year, and not the five year extension requested by the CPC.
Norris says they're going to consult with their attorney and key stakeholders to consider what their next steps will be.
The city says it would like to work out an agreement with the Charlottesville Parking Center, but if not, council will do what it has to do to keep the garage open.