By Elizabeth F. McNamara

Councilwoman Caryn Corenthal Monday night said the Town Council should consider granting a short-term parking space on Main Street in front of Frank & John’s restaurant. 

“People want to come in and grab a pizza, etc., and they were having a lot of problems parking,” said Corenthal, who’d been approached about the problem by restaurant owner Lucy Chacon. Having a short-term space in front of the building could help their business, Corenthal said. “It will at least give them some relief for parking because they cannot afford valet and valet is sort of silly for a takeout business.”

Town Manager Andrew Nota agreed there was a need for some short-term parking on Main Street, but that handing one out to a single business might not be the best way forward.

“We as a staff are in agreement that there needs to be short-term parking,” he said. The Planning Departmen conducted an in-house evaluation of parking on Main Street in 2019 that showed enough of a challenge Nota said he was proposing money in the 2021 budget to hire an outside consultant for a comprehensive study of parking downtown. 

“The question is, based on the timing … should that funding be approved and we go out for an RFP in the summertime, it would probably be next year at this time that we will actually be talking about recommendations from the study,” he said.

Nota said the council could wait until then to act or “look at a recommendation from staff holistically on adding one or more short-term spots to get us through the next year, year and a half, until the council will have substantive information before them.”

Nota added it was difficult to justify one spot in front of one business. 

“If I’m a similar business a couple of months from now, when I learn what’s just happened, I’m going to be back making the same request and you’re going to be reacting to requests. I think we can avoid that if we have the staff come back with more detailed information…. And then have the council make the decision.”

Stay tuned.