Why is the Parking Authority charging all these fees?
What is it? The Parking Authority makes businesses rent parking spaces that don't exist. They actually decide how many spots a business is required to have and the business has to pay a fee each month as a waiver for the spots they don't have.
So in an urban setting, like the Grove, where there is not much parking, a restaurant is required to have parking spots, which of course don't exist. But to do business with the city, they have them pay a waiver fee based on the amount of spots they should have.
The requirement is something like one spot for each 300 square feet for food service places and one spot for each 100 square feet for other type businesses. Food service can eliminate some square footage with the kitchen area and places where customers don't go, like the bathrooms, storage, etc., but many don't know that and they are charged for total square footage. Either way, this is disturbing.
If a business wants outdoor tables, that is more money paid to the Parking Authority per month. And if the business does not want to pay the fee? Their occupational license is revoked.
They charge $240 per spot up front for the parking spots and then charge about $90 or more per spot per month. I feel as if Tony Soprano is running this operation, but our City Commission is in charge of the five member board of directors.
I know of two restaurants that are on the verge of going under because of these fees. When asked what they needed the money for, the Parking Authority told one restaurant "future projects." Are any of these projects the arts and cultural things they sponsor? You would be amazed where the money goes -- to festivals and things! Every restaurant owner that I asked said that they have no clue where the money goes and the Parking Authority is very vague about it when asked. They actually have the restaurants terrorized, and the restaurants are afraid to talk about it.
Why is the Parking Authority sponsoring festivals and things as if they are Budweiser or Verizon? You know I am all for the arts, but I am not in favor of the Parking Authority paying for it.
One restaurant actually has their own parking lot and they are being forced to purchase four more spots per month on the street out front.
One of my favorite restaurants is in danger of closing. They want them to rent 10 spots per month! Comm. Marc Sarnoff told me he would have his office look into some of the issues regarding one restaurant that is being hounded, they may be able to help them with square footage issues and things like that.
I have contacted the Parking Authority and asked them to explain how this works, since I have only gotten the restaurant owners' side of the story. I have not received a response yet from the Parking Authority. Maybe I just don't understand it and maybe they need to do this for a reason. I'll let you know what they say when they get back with me.
That is one reason why the Roach Coach Lady is despised. She comes into town, scoops up a lot of business, has no rent to pay or employees or insurance or extortion to pay. And the restaurant owners are left paying for everything. It's amazing we have any restaurants around here at all.
Parking Authority responds here.
The Miami Parking Authority's Annual Report for 2008 is here.
Financial Reports are here.
Graphic by Harry Emilio Gottlieb for the Grapevine
FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS STORY ON YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS
For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing!