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San Gabriel Valley Digest

Pasadena : Parking Problem Resolved

November 06, 1986

The Board of City Directors has resolved the tangled parking problem in the Old Pasadena development district by approving parking credits, with the burden of paying for some 1,350 new parking slots falling largely on private developers.

The decision Monday eliminates a major stumbling block to the redevelopment of the historic 70-acre site, which will eventually include a state building, a 2,000-seat movie theater, restaurants and shops. Developers were unable to proceed with rehabilitation plans without meeting the parking requirements of the city's zoning code.

Many of the buildings in the nine-block area, across the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad tracks from the Pasadena Center, are on the National Register of Historic Places. The city expects the redevelopment project to generate $90 million in sales-tax revenues over the next 30 years, according to Bill Reynolds, Pasadena's director of development.

Monday's vote was 4 to 1. Mayor John Crowley, who felt that developers should pay a greater share of the costs of building two parking garages, abstained. Board member Rick Cole voted no. One member, Jess Hughston, was absent.

Three parking garages are now scheduled for the area, two of them to be built by the city. Old Pasadena was declared a limited redevelopment project in 1983, allowing for the use of tax dollars to assist in financing parking improvements. Developer John Wilson is building a private 840-space facility.

At issue was the size of fees that businesses in the area would have to pay in order to claim the spaces against zoning requirements. The fee schedule was set at $50 per space for the first five years, $100 for the next five years, and then increasing to a maximum of $200, with increments geared to the consumer price index. The fees, however, are not usage fees, just zoning credit fees. Both businesses and customers will have to pay market rates to actually use the parking spaces.

"It was a long, tedious negotiation," said Reynolds. "This clears the way for the start of construction on the two public parking facilities in January."

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