Parking Garage and the Shared Parking Program – The Main Article

January 31, 2013 § 2 Comments

B.   ELEMENTS OF THE SHARED-PARKING PROGRAM The professed objective of the Shared-Parking program was to revitalize the central commercial district by providing subsidized off-site (rather than on-site) parking to businesses in Areas 1 and 2 of the downtown.[1]  Under the cost-sharing formula, the Town would supply the parking spaces, (initially by buying downtown land and creating surface parking lots and later by constructing structured parking). Participating businesses would have to:

    • purchase spaces (3.3 spaces per 1000 sq. ft. of floor area) regardless of the use
    • pay 60% of the estimated capital cost of structured parking, which was pegged at $5445/space in 1996, and
    • pay 50% of the operating & maintenance costs, which were estimated to be $156/space.

Participants in the program would be permitted to pay for the spaces over a 15-year period.  In addition, the title to the purchased parking spaces would run with the land in perpetuity.  This means (1) future owners of the property would not have to buy the spaces again and (2) no matter where the spaces are located over time, the participants would have the right to use them in perpetuity. On September 10, 1996, the Town Council approved the “shared-parking” program unanimously without debate.  Perhaps, no debate was needed.  The program had been in the making at least five years and it had benefitted from two applications for re-zoning for sites that could not possibly provide any on-site parking.  Town staff, the Planning Commission, the shared parking sub-committee of the Planning Commission, a special committee on PD-MU zoning, numerous downtown businesses and prominent members of the community had participated in its development.  Indeed, it would have been considered an affront to discuss any details of the program at this late hour. Most observers would have assumed that important economic and policy questions had been debated and the public interest had been protected.  After all, it is the duty and the obligation of the general political body to do so.   The question is, “Did the political body live up to its obligation or did it serve just the parochial interests?” Lets examine some of the important issues affecting the common taxpayers and assess whether the 17 councilmembers discharged their duty satisfactorily.           

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§ 2 Responses to Parking Garage and the Shared Parking Program – The Main Article

  • Howard DeFelice says:

    This is excellent information and should have been presented to the public a long time ago. I only became a resident of Herndon in 2008 so much of this is new to me. I came here from Long Island, NY and I have seen what this type of governmental omission of fact produces. Home ownership on Long Island has become impossible for young families and people on fixed incomes because of the tremendous property tax burden. Your blog describes how this happens, quietly and over long periods of time. Property taxes in Suffolk county where I used to live average over $1,000 a month and are still climbing. THIS COULD HAPPEN HERE ! Massive taxpayer expenditures that subsidize pet projects of a few board members is not acceptable. Trying to make downtown Herndon resemble Reston Town Center is ill conceived. Reston Town Center was planned and built from the ground up starting from a clean sheet of paper. Downtown Herndon is a historic site whose charm and attraction is it’s visual link to the past. Massive public works will destroy the very thing that makes it special.

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  • Jeannette Gallup says:

    I thought this article was very informative, and surprising.
    I moved to Herndon as a young child in 1963, attended Herndon Elementary, Herndon Intermediate, and graduated from Herndon High.
    All of Herndon was historical to me, this is when the train was still running, farms were still being worked. There was something about downtown Herndon, it was special then as it is today. I bring my children down town, share with them about growing up here, they know how important it is to be able to go back and enjoy the things of historical value and beauty.
    I moved my business back to Herndon because of the love I have for it.
    We have developed so much around the town and down town, why more. Everyone that grew up in Northern Virginia could probably say they grew up were there is an historical down town, and would respond the same way. Please for all who enjoy the historical charm of downtown Herndon, and concerned tax payers, say something, do something.

    “Please do not let this massive project ruin Herndon’s downtown charm.”

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