City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve the new parking hours for designated spaces in Grand Haven’s two business districts.
“We’re really supportive of changing the timeframe that customers can park downtown from two to three hours,” Grand Haven Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Dana Kollewehr said.
The changes affect both sides of Washington Avenue from Harbor Drive to Fourth Street; both sides of Washington from Sixth to Eighth streets; both sides of First, Second and Third streets between Franklin and Columbus avenues; and both sides of Seventh Street between Washington and Madison avenues.
Assistant City Manager Sam Janson said the new rules clear up a variety of lingering rules with a single ordinance.
“It gets us set for the future as commercial entities expand in the downtown,” he said.
Daytime parking restrictions for the following public parking lots will also be removed: the lot bounded by Washington, Columbus, First and Second; the lot bounded by Washington, Columbus, Seventh and Beacon; and the lot bounded by Washington, Franklin, Seventh and Eighth.
To see a map of downtown parking lots, click the Related File below this story.
According to Kollewehr, allowing people to spend more time downtown would encourage them to visit more stores and attractions.
“The extra time is important to encourage that kind of behavior,” she said. “We think that this is a positive move.”
Kollewehr noted that the changes are the result of several years of debates about the parking situation. She said an open forum a couple of years ago ended with a preferred change to a three-hour limit.
City Manager Pat McGinnis said that new signage noting the three-hour limit would likely be in place before the holiday season. There are roughly 40 signs that will need to be replaced around downtown to enforce the new rules.
McGinnis estimated that it would cost about $1,500 to replace the signs around town, noting that it costs about $30 to replace a sign.
"The cost has not been perfectly nailed down,” he said. “We have a (Department of Public Works) sign shop that we use for projects like these.”
City Council also Monday unanimously approved a measure that will allow the issuance of up to four free permits to business owners who can demonstrate that they have at least four employees working in their buildings between 3 and 6 a.m.
“If you’re a business downtown, you don’t automatically get permits,” McGinnis said. “We’ll only do it by request. We’re not going to go out to places and give away four each.”
Examples of businesses that would need permits include bars with employees working late for cleanup, and bakeries where employees come in early to make products.