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Main St. parking changes cheered

January 22, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

A Waynesboro Borough Council decision to amend its parking regulations generated applause from about 20 businesspeople who attended Wednesday's meeting in support of the plan.

The main change is that municipal boards "may" consider a new business' number of employees and customers when granting approvals, rather than they "shall."

Although the switch seems simple, proponents of downtown revitalization claimed it will make a big difference when recruiting businesses.

"Over the past 30 years, we've lost over 50 businesses from our downtown core. ... Businesses come and go, but you need to be able to recruit new ones," said Bruce Dreisbach, manager of the nonprofit organization Main Street Waynesboro Inc.

The change allows new downtown businesses to have fewer of their own parking spaces than required now. Dreisbach said they will be able to take advantage of existing public parking areas.

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The unanimous council decision came with little discussion from the board members.

"We certainly looked at it long enough," Councilman Ronnie Martin said, referring to months of preparation to get the ordinance ready for approval.

With the change made, Mayor Richard Starliper jokingly asked Dreisbach how long he needs to secure a new restaurant. The Main Street Waynesboro Inc. manager laughed and said he'll get back to work.

Dreisbach said the new ordinance will better protect historic buildings from demolition, sharing old concerns that a business owner would knock down a neighboring structure to make a lot that met parking requirements.

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