For weeks, the owner of the downtown Fulton restaurant The Tavern on the Lock has wanted an answer.Â Will the city end all day parking in the lot next to his building?
The Common Council held a public hearing more than a month ago but took no vote.
Two weeks ago, the matter did not make the Council’s agenda because two of seven members were absent.
Tuesday night, the item was finally on the agenda.
At issue for restaurant owner Don Ryan is the handful of spaces in the city-owned lot at the corner of S. First St. and Oneida St.Â Half of the lot is two-hour only parking and the other half is set aside for all day parking.
Ryan has complained that people who work in downtown business clog those spaces, giving people the impression his restaurant is too crowded when it is not.Â He says he’s losing thousands of dollars in business because of it.
But some of the downtown businesses have said that all-day parking spaces are too far away for employees to walk in the winter or when they carry heavy loads.
Most of the city’s lots that are adjacent to retail or service businesses are two-hour parking only.Â A couple of more distant lots have all-day parking.
And that’s where the issue stood Tuesday night as the resolution was read that would change the lot to two hour parking only.
Mayor Ron Woodward asked for a motion to approve the resolution, the first step in debating it and then voting on it.
But there was no motion.Â No one spoke.
Aldermen Daryl Hayden and Jay Foster looked down.Â Council President Tom Kenyon wrote something on his papers, while Alderman Dan Knopp shuffled his.
“Any motion?” asked Mayor Ron Woodward.
Silence. Ryan’s request died without a vote, a highly unusual action.
Ryan stepped to the microphone a few moments later to ask for an explanation.
Kenyon said the city needed to preserve about 132 spaces for all day parking for the people who work downtown.Â Woodward said that because businesses were unwilling to force their employees to park in the more distant all-day lots, changing the time restriction of one lot won’t change anything.
“The city’s invested a ton of money in parking downtown and I’ll tell you, I think we went overboard,” Woodward said.
“The parking lot drives me nuts,” said Ryan.