Church Not a Fan of New Permit-Only Parking Spots in Downtown Do - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Church Not a Fan of New Permit-Only Parking Spots in Downtown Dover

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - A church in downtown Dover says new permit parking on the street in front of its buildings is a real nuisance.

Earlier this year Delaware EZ Pass moved its service center to downtown Dover to a building along Loockerman Street. That brings lots of people, employees, to downtown every day. Those people need somewhere to park. The city set aside 85 spots for permit parking for them.

That plan had some downtown business owners concerned while it was in the works. But now it's not a merchant that's crying foul. It's Wesley United Methodist Church and organizations that use the church's buildings.

They all wrote letters to the city basically saying, "Hey, this new permit parking is a real problem for us."

David Casto is the chair of the church's board of trustees. His church, like EZ Pass, sits along Loockerman. And right in front of the church's education building, on what's actually called A Street, there used to be 20 public parking spots.

"We ended up being the place that had the one of the perfect locations for the parking they needed for permit parking," Casto said.

Thirteen of the spots are now permit parking only during business hours on weekdays.

"The people who need to access the building for short periods of time cannot use the spots that have the most immediate access to the building."

That includes The Arc of Delaware, the Capital School District Star Program and programs directly connected to the church, like its preschool.

Ann Marie Townshend, the city's planning director, says the 85 permit spots had to come from somewhere.

"We would have had to lose 13 additional metered spots in order to accommodate these 13 permits," she said.

Despite those being metered spots, she says this wasn't about money. Parking for a whole day only costs a buck. It was about downtown merchants.

"They were concerned not just about where their employees would park but where their customers would park. We don't want to create a situation where there truly isn't parking downtown," said Townshend.

Casto is hoping there is something that can be done for the parking next to his church.

"We are willing to work with the city as much as we can in trying to come up with a compromise."

For now, Townshend says her staff is recommending the parking situation stay as is. But this is up for discussion at the city's Safety and Transportation Committee meeting next week. Townshend says if members think changes are warranted, they have been looking at options.
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