GLOVERSVILLE - With rising asphalt costs, Common Council members are considering an amendment to a City Code requirement that parking areas be paved, which would permit less expensive options for developers and residents.
First Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth introduced the matter for discussion at a recent council meeting where she informed other council members about a project to turn the site of a formerly blighted building razed by the Fulton County Demolition Team into a parking lot for tenants of rental units.
Wentworth did not name the project specifically, but a proposal for a site plan to turn the property at the corner of East Fulton Street and Littauer Place into a parking lot was denied in the city Planning Board in February.
The owners proposed to create nine to 11 parking spaces in the lot, purchased after the county's demolition team removed a blighted building, for nearby apartment buildings.
Because the City Code requires the lot be paved, the Planning Board, before they could approve the project, required a proposed timeline identifying when paving would be completed.
"My thought was this was a very unsightly blighted property for many years," Wentworth said. "The buildings were taken down. People bought these properties. They certainly look better than they did. To have them sit the way they are now is certainly much more of an eyesore than if they put some amount of money in it and put gravel in there and made it into a parking area."
The City Code refers several times to parking areas being "appropriately paved" and states "pavement will be blacktop, cement, or pavers for such use."
"I think it's a good idea. Blacktop has gone way up in price," 5th Ward Councilman Jay Zarrelli said.
Considering the cost of purchasing the properties at auction, 2nd Ward Councilman Art Simonds said, "I don't believe you should have these homes go in auction and then expect people to spend $8,000 or $9,000 on blacktop so they can put a couple tenant parking [spaces] there."
According to the state Department of Transportation's website, the price of asphalt has increased from an average of $561 per ton to $626 per ton since January.
In December 2009 the average cost was $420 per ton, according to the state DOT's website.
Wentworth said the property owners of the project she was referring to told her they were quoted $20,000 to pay for paving the parking area with blacktop.
"If that's what we're going to require, this property is going to sit the way it is. Which is worse? I think we need to look toward amending this," Wentworth said.
Amanda Whistle covers Gloversville news. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.