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Leased lot will expand city parking options

The city of Fredericksburg will begin leasing 40 spaces behind the Princess Anne Building in January in an effort to increase downtown parking on weekends and evenings.

The City Council gave final approval to the plan on Tuesday night with the majority supporting waiving the parking fees until 2 p.m. on Sundays to allow for people attending nearby churches.

On Wednesday night, the Planning Commission reviewed the plan and agreed that it complies with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, the final step needed to move the plan ahead.

The city will lease the spaces at 904 Princess Anne St. from Princess Anne LLC, owned by Walter J. Sheffield, Ralph Sutton and Kenneth Butzner.

The initial lease is for two years at a cost of $15,000 per year, to be paid in monthly increments.

The spaces will be available weekends, holidays and from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays. The city will install signs and a pay station at a cost of about $17,000.

The city also expects to spend $1,000 to $2,000 annually for snow removal and maintenance.

During a work session Tuesday, a consensus of council authorized City Manager Bev Cameron to allow free parking on Sundays until 2 p.m. because nearby churches had been using the building’s spaces.

Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw and council members Kerry Devine, Brad Ellis and Fred Howe supported that decision.

Council members Matt Kelly and Bea Paolucci said they would have preferred to charge the same rate on Sundays to be consistent and to help pay the cost of the lease.

“I think we should charge,” Paolucci said afterward. “We need to stop giving things away.”

Approval of the ordinance gives Cameron authority to work out details for churches and other situations when the city might want to make an exception to charging for parking in those spaces.

The standard fees approved under the ordinance are $1 per hour for parking and a $25 fine for parking inappropriately or over the allotted time. The owners of the Princess Anne Building also maintain the right to tow any vehicles left in the lot during weekday business hours.

The ordinance gives Cameron authority to “lower or waive the fees to promote economic development, provide for community gatherings, or if it is otherwise in the best interests of the city to do so.”

The city has ordered the pay station, known as the Luke II, made by Digital Payment Technologies, but it is not clear when it will be installed and ready for operation. One unit will serve all 40 spaces and people will be able to pay using coins, paper currency, credit cards, smart cards and their cellphones.

They will also get phone reminders when their time is about to expire so they can add money without leaving wherever they are in the city.

Pamela Gould: 540/735-1972