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Borough Council votes down Rotary parking proposal

November 16, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Waynesboro Mayor Richard Starliper ended months of debate between members of the Waynesboro Borough Council Wednesday when he broke a tie and denied a proposal to lease 40 spaces in the northeast corner of Waynesboro's Rotary parking lot.

Council President Richard George said the decision made the issue, which has divided council since September, "dead."

The council's decision on Wednesday was the third attempt at resolving conflict over privatizing a portion of the lot's spaces.

"We have been toying with this for months," George said, adding that the decision finally should close the book on the issue.

The council first debated use of the lot when Craig Mahrle, owner of the former Beck & Benedict Hardware building on West Main Street, asked for 20 spaces as parking for tenants of his building. At the time, Mahrle planed to convert the old warehouse into condominiums, and under the existing ordinance, would be required to provide off-street parking to tenants.

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The proposal called for leasing 40 spaces in the northeast corner of the lot for $1 a day for a minimum of one year. The lot, which currently is ordained for public use and provides free parking, contains more than 200 spaces and is used for the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department's annual carnival in August.

Members of the fire department attended the meeting Wednesday to voice the department's concern about leasing spaces.

"If we lose spaces, we lose the carnival," said Dave Martin, Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department board chairman. He said the fire department raises about $25,000 annually from the carnival.

"We need the entire lot for the carnival," he said. "We cannot lose a single space."

Councilman Craig Newcomer said the proposal to lease the spaces included a provision to provide alternative parking elsewhere.

Martin said Penn Wood Amusements, the company that provides the carnival equipment, would not come if they had to park elsewhere and walk to the site.

"Unless we could be guaranteed all of the lot for the two weeks of the carnival, setting up and all, we can't have a carnival in Waynesboro," he said.

Peggy Martin, carnival committee chairwoman, said the fire department has looked into alternative locations for the carnival, but found nothing suitable.

Members of the council and the mayor said the fire department was not the only one to speak against the idea of leasing spaces in the lot.

"I have yet to talk to anyone who supports private use of the lot," Councilman Allen Porter said.

Starliper voiced his concern during discussion and said, "at this point I don't think we need to lease these spaces."

After voting, the council was tied 3-3, with Porter, Charles McCammon, and Allen Barry voting against, and Newcomer, George and Jason Stains voting in favor of the proposal.

In September, Starliper broke a tie over granting Mahrle the 20 spaces and denied the motion, mainly as an opportunity to revisit the issue in October. A month later, council denied another motion to grant Mahrle the spaces. The council remained divided on the issue in October, and drafted the proposal to lease spaces as a means of compromise.

Mahrle, who previously said that he had hoped to work with the council on a solution to the problem, was unavailable for comment.

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