Downtown needs more parking
I read with interest your article regarding the potential of enforcing parking violations against a particular business owner in downtown Clayton. I am concerned about this issue on several fronts.
1. Targeted enforcement of this particular business seems at best unfair. The statement that the town enforces parking regulations barely passes the red-face test. One has only to drive around downtown to routinely see chronic violators parking in yellow-curb areas day after day after day. Second, targeted enforcement like this seems to at best put the town in a bad light.
2. One of the largest impediments to downtown development is not that we do or do not have a pretty parking area with plenty of space for special-interest activities but that there is not adequate parking downtown. Some time ago the town decided to construct the Horne Square lot with 29 spaces. Yet only a block away a lot that is 35 percent smaller in size has 51 spaces. This lot is easy to navigate and provides ample space for driving between the lines of parking spaces. If the commercial lot were the same size as the Horne lot, there would easily be room for 79 spaces.
I am not questioning the decision to build the Horne lot the way it was constructed, nor the process that brought the town to that decision. But in life, we all know that decisions and actions have consequences. The consequences here are definitely not pro-business, as evidenced by the limited parking and the number of empty business places on Main Street.
3. Given the clear need for parking, as evidenced by the Town of Clayton being concerned that one business is using up six of 29 spaces at the Horne lot and the lack of other downtown business district parking, perhaps the Town Council should be purchasing land in the downtown area to use for parking instead of stockpiling park land that will not be developed for years. I noted there appears to be a lot for sale adjacent to the Horne Lot. Were that made into a public parking lot and laid out to maximize parking, there would be no need to be targeting a Clayton business owner over being successful enough to require six trucks in his fleet and parking them in a public parking lot paid for by the citizens of Clayton.
As an 18-year resident and business owner in Clayton, I believe it is time to stop downtown-development activities that are anti-business. Given the population base, downtown Clayton should be a vibrant business community, but the town continues to follow a path that appears to be aimed at maintaining the status quo and preventing development of businesses.
L. Bruce Allen