The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

June 12, 2014

Parking zoning change questioned

DANVILLE — A Danville businessman believes parking changes won’t help develop unused upper floor space in the downtown.

“It’s moving in the right direction to make some of these spaces developable, but I don’t think most developers will take it on,” Michael Kuziak said during a public hearing Tuesday night on the proposed changes. Kuziak owns a number of downtown buildings.

At the Danville Borough Council meeting that followed, the seven council members attending unanimously approved the zoning changes. President Scott Richardson was absent.

The changes reduce off-street parking for a one-bedroom unit from two to one space.

Parking spaces serving dwellings in the downtown can now be up to 500 feet from an apartment. The previous limit was 250 feet.

The third change states a landlord doesn’t have to own required off-street parking spaces provided there is annual proof of access submitted to the borough.

Of the change to allow one parking space for each one bedroom-unit, Kuziak said he didn’t think it made economic sense to build an apartment other than a two-bedroom unit “for what it costs to build these days.”

“I can’t imagine a developer retrofitting an empty building for a one-bedroom,” he said.

Kuziak said he thought the one space provision was somewhat discriminatory by limiting families living downtown. “I’m not so sure it isn’t in violation of the Fair Housing Act,” he said.

Dan Knorr, who serves as the borough’s fair housing officer, said it is clear why more spaces are being allowed for a two-bedroom unit than for a one bedroom-unit because more people would be in that particular apartment. He said he didn’t see that as a concern.

Danville Business Alliance Executive Director Jim Wilson urged the council to adopt the changes.

He said the modifications were a result of a year’s work beginning with the downtown Danville master plan recommending upper floor development.

The business alliance recommended several changing related to parking with a borough committee and borough planning commission reviewing them and reaching a compromise, he said. At the most recent alliance board meeting, members unanimously voted in favor of the changes, he said.

He believes the zoning changes will allow for more upper floor development, increase the downtown population and result in more “walking wallets” in the downtown area.

He said the modifications were in the best interest of the downtown business district and the community.

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