There’s a shortage of off-street parking in the business section of the Village of Saugerties, Rae Stang told the Village Board at its regular meeting Tuesday, September 6. The law requires one parking space for each two apartments, she said, and this is not sufficient. (Village law requires two spaces for a single-family house, 1½ spaces for each apartment in a two-family or multifamily house and one-half space for each apartment in an industrial building).
Stang said she started a petition to change the zoning and almost every person she asked thought it was a good idea. The law used to require two parking spaces for each apartment and “it should go back to that,” she said. “If someone wants to build apartments, they should have to supply parking — at least one space for every apartment.”
Trustee Donald Hackett said that the board has been looking at the parking problem in the village for years. Stang responded that she was aware of it, having served on the STAC (Saugerties Transportation Advisory Committee) for years. Hackett said the village had a proposal for parking, especially for multi-family buildings, but it was shot down by the Ulster County Planning Board. Regulations were changed in the 1980s to promote business, he said. “All these buildings were empty and [former mayor] Bob Yerrick changed it. The overflow was supposed to park in the municipal lot.”
Stang clarified that she is proposing three spaces for every two apartments, that is, 1½ spaces per apartment. Hackett said he did not think that is enough.
“Perhaps it should be per bedroom instead of per apartment,” trustee Jeff Helmuth suggested.
Trustee Terry Parisian said he thought the county had shot down the earlier proposal because of requirements that a certain number of apartments we set aside for low-income residents. He questioned why the county should be telling towns and villages what they could do. Hackett said the county’s comment was a recommendation, “but our attorney said we should do it.”
Mayor Bill Murphy said the village should have the authority to set its own rules, but he also pointed out that “the village is a very confined space; there’s not a lot of room to put that many parking spots.”
On the other hand, Stang said that if someone wants to build and they don’t have the space for parking, they shouldn’t build. “It’s like the guy who wants to build a building next to me. He wants to build something bigger than he really should and he’s asking for all kinds of variances. Well, he shouldn’t build there.” That matter is before the Zoning Board of Appeals, she said.
Stang said she has several suggestions the Village Board might want to consider. One concerns the problem of insufficient parking for existing apartment buildings. “We have a bunch of buildings that are grandfathered in because when they were built, we didn’t have a parking problem — back in the 1800s. Stang said she would like to get the landlords to supply parking passes, “whether we charge them or even give them for free, just so we have a way of knowing where the cars in the overnight parking lot come from and who they belong to.”