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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Answers about the Parking Waiver system

Ok, I heard back from Art Noriega, Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Parking Authority (MPA). I had asked the questions about Coconut Grove's Parking Waiver system, because over the years, merchants, mostly restaurant owners have quested the tax. Recently there was a complaint about a raise in taxes, but it wasn't actually a raise, many businesses were being asked to pay up, as they were delinquent and others were concerned that they had to pay for extra spaces that in the past they claimed they did not have to pay for, in other words, their space count went up, causing their payments to the MPA to go up.

Here are the questions (Grape) and answers (Noriega):

Grape: The Parking Waiver system in Coconut Grove. It is obsolete, why is it still being used.

Noriega: The property owners in the program are required to pay in for waivers because they cannot provide the parking as required for zoning purposes.

Grape: Where is all the money going and if it is going to build parking garages, after 21 years, where are the parking garages?

Noriega: The Oak Avenue Garage was constructed using a subsidy from the trust fund and the public portion of the garage built under the Sonesta Hotel was also built with BIC support with a restriction on rates. That alone counts for almost 600 parking spaces.

Grape: Why are Grovites paying parking meters and paying this tax, isn't that double dipping?

Noriega: It’s not since they are unrelated. The on-street spaces are regulated as they are all over the City. That is done to create turnover and thus access to more parking for businesses. The waiver is not a tax, it’s a fee in lieu of providing an actual physical parking space as required under the zoning code.

Grape: What is the reasoning behind the system, why was the Parking Waiver tax started in 1992. What is the exact reason?

Noriega: The waiver system was created in order to allow for businesses that could not comply with providing for parking the opportunity to pay into the fund and open the business, while the fund would later be used to add parking inventory to meet the demand. It was a way to grow and improve the economic environment in the Grove without the immediate and overwhelming burden of building the parking all at once. Property owners could attract tenants that for zoning purposes required more parking, but from a practical perspective could not incur the expense to build parking up front. It was used as an economic development tool.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The parking fund was a direct result of the sidewalk dining that became so popular during the late 80's, early 90's. The restaurants that had parking cried fowl and the fund was established. The parking garage was built on Oak and Mary, which really pissed everyone off.

June 27, 2013 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"it's not a tax, it's a fee"

June 27, 2013 10:01 AM  
Anonymous That Guy said...

By the time I finished reading the first paragraph, I was flabbergasted by the fact that they got you to put their spin on it.

It is dishonest of the parking authority to say, "we didn't raise the tax, we just increased the amount you have to pay every month." By requiring an establishment to "buy" more spaces - they did increase (or raise) the amount being taxed - maybe not per space, but in actuality.

It's classic political doublespeak. Don't buy into it. They increased the cost to businesses in a time when they're still struggling. And we wonder why there are still so many vacant fronts.

June 27, 2013 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone else notice how Noriega did not answer the questions posed? First question "why is obselete system being used" A: non- responsive statement about zoning.
2. - non-responsive stock answer - he doesn't say whether that tax played any role in garages built and paid for many times over by this tax - and those were not done by the city. 3. - somewhat responsive but replete with lies. 4. It was used as a tool to make the property owners who paid off our elected officials richer at the expense of small businesses which are the engine of the economy - the classic greed+politics formula that keeps our system in balance and 1%s happy and fat.

June 27, 2013 10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Basically put up or shut up.

June 27, 2013 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If 600 parking spaces have been built then why continue collecting the "fee" and why are the funds being used for anything other than parking? Oh, I just answered my own question.

June 27, 2013 12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


June 28, 2013 1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the event a few weeks ago "Rebuilding the Grove" the panelist representing the BID office said that there is a new parking building in the pipeline, didn't offer the location or the timing?. The answer was in response to many complains from the audience who said the main reason they don't visit the grove was due to the lack of parking space and the high parking fees from different parking lots. The BID representative said the City cannot regulate the fees charged by the private property parking lot owners.
The parking lot in the Sonesta Hotel is poorly visible, the only parking sign located across the Hotel is not eye catching and at night it is not even lid up. For instance, someone driving south into the grove from bayshore drive won't know of the parking in the Sonesta.
The parking on Oak Avenue seems pretty empty always. It is a huge contrast to the always full parking lot in the Coconut Grove bank.

June 29, 2013 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a bridge to sell you. How can I get a subsidy from the trust funds?

June 29, 2013 4:49 PM  

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