More Parking For Albertus, Less Parking For St. Francis

Allan Appel PhotoIf you use the tennis courts or track at Albertus Magnus College, soon it’s going to be twice as easy to find parking.

Thank the City Plan Commission. Wednesday night commissioners unanimously voted to approve a site plan review to permit the college to add 17 additional parking spaces to its lot at the corner of Prospect and Huntington streets in front of Thomas Aquinas Hall.

The existing spots there are often all used. The new spots will eat in, in part, into the grassy area that fronts the tennis courts.

City Plan staffer Joy Ford said Albertus officials were asked to designate one of the spaces for a handicapped van and one as a standard handicapped space.

Ford pointed out that the public as well as Albertus’s staff and students use track and the tennis courts.

Meanwhile, down Prospect Street surface parking was reduced in another decision of the commissioners.

By another unanimous vote, Pike International received approval for a site plan review to convert the old 1.2-acre property of the St. Francis Home at 651-661 Prospect into a three-building, nine-unit condominium complex surrounded by gracious grounds, all without alteration to the outsides of the historic buildings.

Click here for a previous story on the commissioners’ positive reaction when they first heard that the plans to renovate the buildings on the site also include a reduction in parking spots.

This is the last step in approval of a Planned Development Unit (PDU) expediting the conversion of old institutional buildings into condos.

Each of the buildings will have a patio and a two to three-car garage. That will enable the current 24-slot asphalt lot on the south side to be reduced to nine parking spots. The sports will be used by visitors or for berths for residents’ second cars, said project designer Fernando Pastor.

Commissioner Adam Marchand asked how much impervious surface will be eliminated and replaced by surface more suitable to water infiltration. Answer: 34 percent.

Much of that will be green space, augmented by a gazebo for common use.

Project engineer John Zyrlis said construction could begin within the next few months and take approximately ten more to arrive at ribbon-cutting.

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posted by: anonymous on April 18, 2013  11:10am

This is great news!  Developers should get huge bonuses when they reduce parking surface. 

Some cities have a “cap and trade” approach wherein: 1) No new asphalt surface is allowed unless asphalt surface is removed somewhere else, and 2) the available amount of asphalt surface is decreased by a certain percentage each year in order to meet the citywide priority, which is to reduce by half the amount of city land given over to impervious asphalt.

This is a major health and environmental issue, and easily could be made a priority here too if we had a Mayor with some vision. 

Instead, we’ve had a Mayor who has tried to ram fees down people’s throat - even though the fees themselves were a good idea, it was the dead wrong implementation.