Councilors Approve Settlement in Water Street Parking Garage Lawsuit
After a two year dispute, a settlement has been reached over the Water Street Parking Garage in downtown Charlottesville.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A lawsuit settlement is changing the way garage parking operates in downtown Charlottesville.
City Council unanimously approved a settlement deal with Charlottesville Parking Center (CPC) late Monday, July 16. As a result, the city is set to take over running the Water Street Parking Garage.
After a years’ long legal battle, the center will cease managing the garage on August 1.
Representatives from CPC met with Lanier Parking, the company taking over operations at Water Street, Tuesday, July 17.
Under the deal, Charlottesville gets full control of the parking garage for 16 years. Additionally, the city will purchase 73 parking spaces, and will lease the rest.
The move is expected to cost the city $600,000 each year, with a 2.5 percent annual increase.
CPC owner Mark Brown filed a lawsuit against the city in March 2016 over rates and garage ownership. Brown had wanted to increase the hourly and monthly rates for the 973 “pooled parking units” (unreserved parking spots) at the garage. Members of the garage's management board - which had been equally made up of the CPC and city staff - were at odds over the possible rate increase.
Brown’s lawsuit had sought Charlottesville to pay CPC $1 million in damages, the court to remove the city from decision-making, and an injunction to stop the city from any further decisions related to setting rates at the garage.
Before the settlement agreement, Charlottesville had controlled 629 pooled units at the garage, while CPC had the other 344.
CPC General Manager Dave Norris says the settlement provides one approach to downtown parking.
"This will allow both garages to operate exactly the same which will make a more accessible parking environment for downtown. We're pretty confident the people who work and do business downtown and visit downtown will benefit from that. So everything will be equalized."
Norris said he will work to have a seamless transition between the two companies. He also expects most, if not all, current garage employees to keep their jobs.
Councilor Mike Signer says the settlement is a good result for the community.
The Charlottesville Parking Center believes the settlement could pave the way for more technology upgrades, including real-time information about which garage spaces are open.