Opponents of Mayor Anthony Calderone’s proposal to charge developers a fee in lieu of providing the required parking spaces when converting apartments to condominiums seem to be taking positions based more on principle than practicality.
We all share the desire expressed by the commissioners to encourage home-ownership and to ensure that developers continue investing in condo conversions. As stated by Commissioner Patrick Doolin, conversions are one of the only remaining sources of affordable housing in town, and it is essential that they remain viable for developers.
It seems extremely unlikely, though, that a one-time fee of, say, $2,500 would give a single developer second thoughts about making any substantial investment in town. In fact, one would presume that a developer interested in delivering a quality product would be welcoming to the idea of assisting the village in solving its parking woes.
Calderone’s assertion that this parking issue is not going to disappear on its own, though seemingly obvious, must be taken to heart by the village if it wants to see a solution to the problem anytime soon. Otherwise, the lack of parking in town is sure to repel far more business from developers than any minor fees, whether for condo conversions or new construction.
A more detailed plan including the amount of the fee and how the money would be distributed might have helped Calderone persuade his fellow commissioners, but the immediate rejection of the idea by both sides of the council’s political divide was disheartening.
We hope that the council will take the time to reevaluate Calderone’s proposal or a similar one in the future.
Library takes positive steps
The Forest Park Public Library should be commended for finally organizing the long promised meeting to explain to residents its spending over the past few challenging years.
While we hope that the last minute decision to notify the newspaper of the meeting is not indicative of the overall level of organization of the meeting, the openness and lack of defensiveness on the part of the library is certainly welcome.
Though library staff will not be allowed to discuss the current push for a referendum during the meeting, we hope the information provided will put to rest much of the speculation that threatens to block the referendum from passing.
Remember, the library has an annual budget of about $700,000. Buy the books, pay the staff, turn on the lights and there isn’t much money left that could ever have been misspent. There is virtually no room for corruption and not enough money to badly mismanage. So let’s move ahead.
We hope that following the meeting residents will be able to put past finger-pointing aside and stand behind an institution that is vital to the continued success of Forest Park.