Stadium Village businesses seek new parking rules

Those involved say the stadium was not considered when enacting laws in 2007.

Stadium Village businesses seek new parking rules

Katherine Lymn

A group of Stadium Village business owners will soon present a proposal that reworks Minneapolis laws that prohibit the sale of parking spots in their lots, including on game days. City Council member Cam Gordon, Ward 2, originally pledged to resolve the issue by the end of the Gophers football season, and some businesses had hoped to be able to profit from parking by the U2 concert in June. But now, Stadium Village Commercial Association President Nancy Rose Pribyl said the U2 concert will just be âÄúmore potential for problem parkingâÄù on campus. Business owners and Gordon now foresee the 2010 football season as a realistic time by which the issues will be resolved. âÄúWhen youâÄôre working with the city, youâÄôre working on their timeline, not your own,âÄù Pribyl said. The concerned businesses are currently not authorized to sell the spots because they lie within the Transit Station Area Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District boundaries âÄî the future location of the Central Corridor light-rail line. The district was established to make the area more pedestrian- and public transit-friendly, and the parking rules are there specifically to make sure the district does not become a âÄúsea of paid parking lots,âÄù said Haila Maze, a principle planner for the city of MinneapolisâÄô Department of Community Planning and Economic Development. Businesses are hoping to get authorization to use their lots for events and profit from it, said Darrin Mercil, manager of MercilâÄôs Campus Auto Repair, who called the current ordinances âÄústringentâÄù and âÄúrestrictiveâÄù on local businesses and the overall game day experience. Citing a loss of revenue, Mercil said the ordinances are âÄúnot very friendlyâÄù to hospitality businesses like restaurants. He said it should be the business ownersâÄô decision whether customers can keep their cars parked during a game after patronizing a restaurant or other business. The actions by business owners come after many of them, including ArbyâÄôs and MercilâÄôs, were fined for selling spots in their lots without a Class A commercial parking lot license âÄî the authorization they are now trying to get. âÄúThe idea is that if you have an area where people are just making lots of money selling âĦ parking, that doesnâÄôt really coincide very well with the vision of the transit-oriented area,âÄù Maze said. One thing the city and business owners agree on is that the district ordinances were written without the stadium in mind. âÄúThey didnâÄôt anticipate a new stadium over here,âÄù Mercil said. Maze said she considers the stadium event parking issues âÄúunintended consequencesâÄù of the ordinances, as most pedestrian oriented overlay districts do not have the potential for event parking because they are in the city. Pribyl said businesses first met with Gordon in the fall to voice concerns over the ordinances. From there, business owners have been working to hash out a compromise, meeting most recently over winter break. This process has been a more organized effort by business owners and city officials to âÄúrewrite the laws,âÄù Gordon said. âÄúI suspect that weâÄôll still have to do some work on it once the proposal comes forward,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôll probably have this process of redrafting and talking and working on it as we move forward.âÄù