Proposing proactive policy

To the Editor:

At the April Bayonne city council meeting, our city council unanimously passed an ordinance (O-10) that would restrict new residents in new redevelopment properties from being entitled to receive on-street parking permits.

I believe this ordinance has a few problems. Number one, it seems discriminatory as a city we are saying “Come Live Here, just don’t park here.” There may be ways to cheat the system as these new residents may be able to register their vehicle at another address or even apply for a guest pass for their vehicles. It also creates a problem for developers. If a building is at capacity with parking, owners will have to turn away prospective tenants that have more than one vehicle, leaving a would-be rented apartment vacant until a tenant with one vehicle comes along.

Other questions remain such as, are the owners of the new development or property management going to document the vehicles parking on their facilities and willingly share that information with the city? Can the city legally demand that information? May this be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause under the US Constitution? There are many unanswered questions here for an ordinance which 5 members voted for and is now city law.

I believe there’s a better approach to take that will eliminate the potential problems with this ordinance and help burdened neighborhoods already suffering from a lack of parking. We start by shredding O-10 and by revising the local general ordinance to increase the on-street parking requirement on all new high-rise apartment buildings to a ratio of to 2 parking spaces per unit.

Right now, the state’s ratios on high rise buildings are as follows:1 Bedroom/ 0.82, space, 2 Bedroom/ 1.3 spaces, 3 Bedroom/ 1.9 spaces. The city has its own ordinance where the requirement is less than the state in two key areas and makes the parking problem worse. 1 Bedroom/ 1 space, 2 Bedroom/ 1.25 spaces, 3 Bedroom/ 1.5 spaces

NJ source: https://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/codreg/pdf_regs/njac_5_21.pdf

By proactively increasing the ratio requirement to 2 parking spaces per unit, our city would essentially create private parking for public use providing immediate relief to the area. Every new resident could have access to on-street parking, and we eliminate potential for abuse of the current system. This change would not hamper developers either as they can still apply for a parking variance and the planning board would ultimately decide to approve the request. I plan to introduce this new ordinance to our governing body by next month’s scheduled city council meeting and hope we can make this idea a new law.

Peter Franco