Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Kim Glasscock

LID talks parking


Finding ways to provide more parking in Niwot’s business areas will top the agenda for a July 18 meeting between Boulder County Commissioners and Niwot Local Improvement District advisory board members.

In recent years, LID members and commissioners have met to discuss mutual issues between the Niwot business areas and commissioners. In previous years, the two groups have discussed resurfacing Second Avenue business district streets, economic development in Niwot, pedestrian safety and loosening land use requirements for providing parking in Niwot business areas.

Parking is coming to the forefront again, LID members agree.

“We have seen a big increase in parking utilization in the Second Avenue business area and an uptick in Cottonwood Square too,” commented LID co-chair Laura Skaggs. “I think our top priority this year should be working with the commissioners to proactively find parking solutions.”

A 2012 agreement with Boulder County Land Use allowed more flexibility in current parking requirements. The more relaxed regulations okayed shared parking, and allowed parking on a business lot or on another lot within the downtown business district to meet county parking requirements for a business.

However, the agreement added the understanding that tighter restrictions would follow if parking utilization reached 75 percent on non-event days. County officials are scheduled to conduct another parking utilization count this fall.

“I think we may be close to hitting the trigger,” Skaggs said.

Several new businesses have opened since the last parking use survey was done in 2012, making parking more difficult to find, LID members agreed.

“We have an additional restaurant and a brewery on Second Avenue, the Children’s Park along Murray Avenue will open this fall, Cottonwood Square spaces are full, and the Link Building will be coming online soon,” co-chair Carrie Wise pointed out. “We have a lot more parking demand.” Wise, who is an owner of Wise Buys Antiques on Second Avenue, said she has heard from several customers that they have had a hard time finding parking when visiting the store.

“We are seeing more economic vitality and higher sales tax collections from Niwot,” said LID treasurer Harris Faberman. “Insufficient parking can stymie the economic growth and vitality we are experiencing. We need to work with the commissioners to find a way to add more parking for Niwot businesses and customers.”

A 2014 proposal from the LID to create a surface parking lot along Franklin Street was dropped after neighbors objected and county officials were cool to the proposal.

Recently LID members have reached out to Burlington Northern Railroad to see if the company has any interest in selling some of its property along the railroad tracks north of the Excel Electric building. That property then could be used for parking. Boulder County Commissioners also would have to develop and approve land use code provisions to allow a parking lot.

In other business, county liaison Pete Salas told LID members that the LID budget for 2017 would be approximately $133,000, about a 5 percent increase. “The budget will be 80 percent of the anticipated LID tax collections of $166,000,” Salas said.


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