Split vote after parking debate

BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
City Council voted 5-1 to approve a new business use for 21 North Main Street, the former antique shop, as Main Street MI Co-Working Center.
The business offers work and conference rooms for rent by remote workers and freelancers, including business mailing address. A previous plan called for Airbnb short-term apartment rentals on the second floor. The revised plan has office-space rentals on both floors.
According to city ordinances, the business should have six or seven parking spaces. The antique shop had no onsite parking, but had one or two on-street parking spots in front. The Planning Commission recommended approval without parking minimums or deferments.
Council member Scott Reynolds, who is a member of the city Parking Committee, voted “no.” He favored putting a one-year limit on approval to give the committee time to “correct the sins of the past.”
“I’m uncomfortable forever negating the need for deferment,” he said.
Council member Sue Wylie, also a member of the Planning Commission, said the commission favored allowing the committee to address the issue citywide instead of requiring parking spaces or deferments in individual cases.
Mayor Eric Haven and council members Al Avery, Jason Kneisc, David Marsh, and Wylie voted “yes.” Council member Rick Detkowski was absent.
In 2015, City Council approved an addition to the 55 S. Main Street dental office, and Honcho and Fed restaurants without parking spaces or deferment payments as required by ordinance.
According to zoning ordinance 20.02, parking deferment payments could be set by city council resolution after consultation and review by city engineers and planners. This resolution has not been made.
The ordinance sets a Parking Space Deferment District downtown, and permits exemption “if the applicant can demonstrate and the Planning Commission finds that adequate public parking is provided within a reasonable walking distance from the subject site.” The Parking Space Deferment District includes downtown Main Street from just north of Washington Street to Waldon Road, including the Clarkston Mills on W. Washington Street.
The Parking Commitee is working to prepare recommendations for City Council by the end of May or beginning of June, Reynolds said.