The Poplar Street parking lot becomes public land
SIDNEY — A car park on the northeast corner of Poplar Street and West Avenue in the former property of the Goodwin Furniture store is being turned into a public car park.
It’s a point of contention for LRF Properties, the owner of the Canal Place apartments at 121 W. Poplar St, and the former tenant of the city-owned land, which is located across from the apartment complex. The City of Sidney is expected to pass legislation to officially change the land from private land to public parking in April after Sidney City Council was first presented with an ordinance on the matter at its Monday meeting evening.
RJ Horwitz, asset manager for LRF Properties, said the loss of private parking would cause tenants of the low-income apartment complex, inhabited by several people with special needs, to lose their designated parking and force them to walk further to return home. . He noted that 30% of Canal Place Apartment tenants are disabled and worried if they leave their parking space they would have to park further away and find it difficult to get home.
“We were told we had to open our private parking lot, which we’ve been making quarterly payments on for 10 years,” Horwitz said. “It was part of the finance and zoning regulations in 1995 when the apartments were renovated using Ohio finance funds. And the way it works is you have to have a certain number of parking spaces for each rented apartment, and I believe the density was 1.3. And if you have 55 apartments, that’s 75 spaces that are required by zoning. Because I am regulated by the Ohio Finance Authority.
After the 2019 holiday season, the city council temporarily removed two-hour parking time limits in the city center to help businesses. Effective December 31, 2019, the city extended the amnesty program through November 2022. This resolution extended the suspension of enforcement for violations of “designated two-hour free parking spaces” on city streets. nine-block area bordered by West Avenue, North Street, Miami Avenue, and South Street. It does not include metered spaces in front of the post office or overnight parking in these street spaces. This decision then sparked discussions about reviewing and updating downtown parking in general. Then in 2021, the city began reassessing all downtown parking lots and various sections of the zoning were changed.
Horwitz said he was given a deadline of April 1, 2022 to remove the electronic arm that prevented the public from using the pitch and to remove their signs. He complied in early March, but feels the city doesn’t care about the needs of its residents. Horwitz also said they had not received a refund from the city for the unused portion of the rent they had already paid for the land to be a private parking lot for Canal Place tenants.
On Monday night, the city council was presented with an ordinance to amend a section of the zoning code to officially designate the former city-owned Goodwin parking lot as available for free public parking.
“We have facilitated free parking for these residents on city land. We opened it to the public, but that’s because we have a large parking lot. We also opened up the back lot, which joins the post office, so now you can get there extremely easily and we actually added more mobility for those people to get in and park,” said City Manager Andrew Bowsher in Sydney. Daily News, when asked about concerns raised by Horwitz.
“Now people don’t have to go out on Poplar Street, they can actually go out on North Street or even Ohio Avenue, if you turn the corner and go out. And they can also exit onto West Avenue, which was previously blocked to them. Now no one is charged. They still have the option to park there for free, and it will solve parking problems for local businesses,” Bowsher continued.
Horwitz and Canal Place office manager Lisa Derosiers said on a joint call that residents weren’t charged for using the land, but rather a deposit for an issued door opener. Derosiers said tenants have expressed great concern and frustration over the loss of their designated parking lot and the possibility of a long walk back to their apartment. Some are even afraid to leave for fear that once it gets late and the activity in the city center increases, the public will have already occupied all the parking lots nearby.
Bowsher further noted that the city was paying for electricity and maintenance for the recently removed gate that LRF Properties did not have permission to install to begin with. Bowsher said they try to do what’s best for the community as a whole.
“So we’ve solved the problem, because (LRF Properties) never had a contract on this property, for our residents who want to park downtown, the residents of Canal Place, and our local businesses,” Bowsher said. . “It was really, really a win-win for everyone.”
Sidney City Council will consider the Poplar Street parking ordinance in more detail at its meeting on April 11, 2022. Citizens with concerns should contact the City of Sidney or members of Sidney City Council.
The facade of the Canal Place apartments on Thursday 24th March.
Canal Place Apartments on Thursday 24th March.
The parking lot next to the Historic Sidney Theater, left, Thursday, March 24.