On Tuesday, November 6, Montpelier voters approved Article 1 to allow the City of Montpelier to take out a bond to build and maintain a public parking garage. The parking garage provides critical additional parking capacity in Downtown Montpelier supports the development of a new hotel.
The City is proposing to build, own and operate a 348-space parking garage in Downtown Montpelier. It would add 160 net new spaces to the Downtown, increasing the inventory of city-managed spaces by by 26 percent.
Parking revenues from the garage and TIF revenue from the new hotel will pay back the bond for the parking garage over 30 years. City taxes won't increase to pay for the garage.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Has the City considered other locations for a garage?
The City looked at all other viable locations (with adequate size and proximity to proposed hotel), including the area along Court Street known as "the pit". Each site presented its own logistical and financial opportunities and challenges. The original One Taylor Street project study identified this location as a viable option. Given timing, ownership, and current opportunities, the Capitol Plaza site is the best suited for the proposed parking garage.
Can the parking garage be designed to allow for future reuse?
The project budget and resources do not allow for the additional load-bearing capacity needed for future reuse (e.g. residential or commercial use). The possibility was explored by the garage architect, but the estimates came in at around $3 million of additional costs.
Will my taxes increase to pay for the parking garage?
No. The City will utilize its new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) tool and parking revenues generated by the garage to pay back the bond. The tax revenues generated by the new hotel will go towards paying for the garage, but property taxes overall will not increase to pay for this project.
Why is the proposed hotel influencing the parking garage timeline?
The parking provided by the garage is a necessary component for the proposed hotel. The contract with Hilton Hotel is time-sensitive, therefore the parking garage timeline is built to ensure the parking is available by the time the Hampton Inn & Suites is completed.
Why aren't the hotel owners building the garage?
The additional cost and resources for building and managing a parking garage were out of the scope of the hotel owners. The City owning and managing the garage allows for additional parking capacity for public use.
What are the environmental impacts?
The project is meeting all stormwater management requirements and incorporating green drainage areas where possible. The current location is already a paved impervious surface. The parking garage will not create any new impervious area, while internal water treatment systems in the structure will improve the quality of any runoff.
What is the traffic impact of the garage?
A recent traffic study concluded that the 'level of service' (traffic conditions as percieved by motorists) at the studied intersections will be "acceptable for most approaches". The current delays experienced at certain intersections during peak travel times will remain the same. The full report can be found here.
Is the City giving the hotel owners a "sweet deal"?
The hotel owners are donating the land on which the parking garage is proposed, along with paying $300,000 annually for parking permits. The new Hampton Inn & Suites will generate an additional $150,000 annually in new property tax. The combination of these represent 62 percent of the total project funding.
Does the parking garage only benefit the hotel?
The hotel will benefit from the parking garage, but so will Montpelier residents, business owners, and visitors. The additional parking alleviates some of the long-felt parking pressure downtown, while it supports a hotel that brings more visitors who are spending their money in Montpelier. For more, read "7 Beneftis to Consider for the Proposed Parking Garage".
What will the parking garage look like?
Input was gathered from the public and City Council for the design of the parking garage. After multiple renderings, here are the most recent drawings of the proposed parking garage. It will be 4-1/2 stories tall with "green wall" exteriors and space for art installations.
Can the City's Net Zero principals be applied?
There will be electric vehicle charging stations in the garage along with dedicated space for bike parking. The building will have solar panels on the top floor, which power the charging stations and LED lighting. The garage may utilize district heating to assist with snow removal in exposed areas.
What happens if car use decreases in the future?
If there is a long-term reduction of car use, the City has committed to systematically reduce parking in other surface lots and on streets to allow for creative reuse (e.g. parklets, residential and/or commercial development, bike lanes, etc.).
Will the parking garage affect the extension of the Shared Use Path (bike path)?
The parking garage project will not affect the extension of the Shared Use Path. Constructon for the Path is a separate project that will begin soon. The garage will actually enable the construction of a ramp that provides access to the Shared Use Path from the parking garage (what is now the Capitol Plaza parking lot and Heney Lot).
HEARD AROUND TOWN
Owner of Capitol Grounds
Parking has been a topic of discussion for all of that time and is a perennial issue in the downtown. We are at the point where we have an opportunity to make it happen.
Co-Owner of Bearpond Books
As a longtime resident and business owner, I recognize the importance of this significant downtown project. The increased economic activity and tax revenue will help Montpelier financially so future municipal budgets can better address the social well-being of the community.
Executive Director of Montpelier Alive
This project sets a precedence for public-private partnerships and the advancement of projects that ensure the continued vibrancy of Montpelier.