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April 12, 2017

Warrenton Town Council bashes parking study

File Photo/Lawrence Emerson
A Haymarket consultant earned $28,000 for the new study.
We could have done this on our own for $28,000.
— Councilman Alec Burnett
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
Three Warrenton Town Council members Tuesday night took verbal shots at a consulting firm’s $28,000 study of downtown parking.

Town officials got the 33-page report last week.

Councilwoman “Sunny” Reynolds (At-large) criticized the methodology, which relied on a single day’s data.

“In my opinion, I think we are going to have a parking problem” with the recently-opened Wort Hog Brewing Co. during peak season, Ms. Reynolds said.

“The parking study, to me, was probably a waste of time and a waste of money,” Kevin Carter (Ward 5) said. “Poorly put together. Rambling. I think the citizens deserve better.”

Mr. Carter suggested sending the report to the council’s Transportation Committee to find something useful from it.

“I completely agree,” Alec Burnett (Ward 2) said. “I think there are some best practices (in the study) . . . . We could have done this on our own for $28,000.”

But, Jerry Wood (Ward 1) suggested the report includes some useful recommendations, including switching one-hour parking spaces to two hours and increasing fines for those who exceed time limits.

Transportation Committee members Bob Kravetz (Ward 4), Ms. Reynolds and Mr. Carter will discuss the study at their meeting next month.

On a Thursday in October, Walker Parking Consultants of Haymarket found 75 percent of parking lot spaces and 55 percent of on-street spaces occupied.

Downtown has adequate parking, but “it may not be perceived as convenient for some users,” the report says.

The town commissioned 1986 and 2000 parking studies that produced similar results.

Also Tuesday night, Warrenton resident Dink Godfrey told the council he has launched a petition drive to encourage the town to immediately sell Brentmoor, where the defunct Mosby Museum operated, and the adjacent visitor center.

“It’s been a failure for 18 years,” said Mr. Godfrey, who hopes to get more than 100 signatures on the petition.

He called both properties “albatrosses . . . . I think we are beyond the time this should be done, and I’m sad it’s not moving forward faster.”

The council will discuss their options for the property at a May 4 work session.

In other matters Tuesday, the council:

• Voted, 6-0, to amend the fiscal 2017 budget, appropriating $40,000 more in parks capital improvement funds and cash proffers a developer gave the town decades ago for the dog park construction. Along with a $30,000 cash proffer from the Alwington Farms developer, that brings the dog park construction budget to $70,000. The park will lie at the end of South Fifth Street, along the Warrenton Branch Greenway.

• Unanimously approved disbursement of $10,000 to Experience Old Town Warrenton, the new Main Street program. This year’s budget includes $20,000 for the program but only half had been allocated until this week.

• Voted, 6-0, to give the Piedmont Environmental Council $6,313 for the Warrenton Branch Greenway Trail completion, connecting the Fauquier Education Farm and Lord Fairfax Community College.

• Unanimously approved a special event permit and Main Street’s closing for the Memorial Day Parade and ceremony Monday, May 29.

• Unanimously approved closing Main Street for the Father’s Day Car Show on Sunday, June 18.
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molly33 · April 14, 2017 at 7:39 am
The parking study and the dog park are a ridiculous waste of tax payer money, The money that was illegally funneled from the town water fund into the Wharf should be refunded by any future town expenditures to handle the water infrastructure repairs. Citizen water bills should be returned to the previous pre-Wharf rates.
Lash_LaRue · April 13, 2017 at 2:02 pm
The Town Council should take heed that, in maybe 10 or 20 years, your car will probably be able to just drive itself away after dropping you off downtown (!).

In the future, we may not need that much real estate devoted to parking, especially in urban areas where taxis are the norm...

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