A Virginia consultant has recommended that Westminster city officials build a parking deck on the Longwell Avenue lot downtown -- if they decide to build the structure at all.
"Site selection is the first step," said Thomas B. Beyard, Westminster's director of planning and public works.
Ned Cleland, president of Blue Ridge Design Inc. of Winchester, was asked to recommend a site for a deck and to estimate the cost of building it there, as part of a parking-structure feasibility study.
In a report to the mayor and Common Council, the consultant said the area bounded by Longwell Ave., Distillery Lane, Winters Street and Locust Lane would provide the most spaces for the money.
The project's estimated cost is $1.5 million. It would add about 170 spaces on one deck, Beyard said.
"We're looking for the most spaces at the least cost," he said of the consultant's mission. Depending upon the angles, he said, another 25 to 30 spaces might be possible.
"This doesn't say anything about if or when it would be built," he noted.
The parking deck was first listed among possible capital-improvement projects in fiscal 1996, Beyard said. Design money could be provided in fiscal 2000, with construction money the next fiscal year.
Asked whether another deck might be added, he said, "One thing we need to be cognizant of is scale." The height restriction downtown is eight stories, but most Main Street buildings have only three stories.
"He's designed a gazillion parking decks," Beyard said of Cleland, who was asked to determine which of several city-owned properties would be best suited for a deck.
Beyard said the effects of construction on underground utilities figured in the site-cost evaluation as well as being able to use existing roads. The recommended site is 338 feet long by 125 feet wide.
In other business, the council reviewed the proposed budget for the next fiscal year, after a meeting last week in which members trimmed items line by line to cut $1 million in requests and balance revenues against spending.
Council members left slightly more than $9 million in proposed expenditures for the general fund, and $3 million-plus apiece for the water and sewer funds.
The city tax rate of 88 cents per $100 of assessed value is not expected to change when the budget is adopted next month, after a public hearing before the council.
The council also introduced resolutions for the rezoning and annexation of a 14-acre site near the county airport owned by Donald C. Essich, a retired farmer and a member of the county Economic Development Commission.
Essich told the city in February that he had agreed to sell his farmhouse, barn and other buildings to the Gaylord Brooks Cabinet & Mill Shop, a mill specializing in custom woodwork now located downtown. About half of the farm property, zoned for residential use, would remain as a pond or wetlands.
Annexing the parcel for industrial use would increase the city's tax base and keep a business in town, city planners said.
Pub Date: 4/14/98