NEWPORT — The city of Newport is looking to implement the first phase of its parking plan and is now taking applications for an advisory committee, with the acquisition and installation of meters on the Bayfront included in this year’s budget.

Following four years of studies and surveys, and a final Parking Management Plan, Newport City Council adopted ordinances in March 2020 amending the Comprehensive Plan to establish a framework for a new parking enforcement and management program, including metering, in its three established parking districts — Nye Beach, City Center (the corridor of Highway 101 between Highway 20 and Fall Street, and a few blocks east and west) and the Bayfront.

Business owners in Nye Beach and City Center opposed installation of meters, while Bayfront business people largely supported them, so council opted to move forward with meters in only the latter district.

However, the 2020-21 budget did not include funds to implement the plan, which would require purchasing meters and hiring staff for enforcement, as the city found itself projecting cratered revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it instead cut personnel and services.

The 2021-22 budget includes $600,000 for phase one of the parking improvement plan toward the end of the fiscal year (the fiscal year ends June 30, 2022), which will fund the purchase and installation of meters as well as pay for a new full-time parking enforcement officer.

Money for the project comes from the Agate Beach Closure Fund ($225,000) and from the Parking Fund ($375,000). Revenue to the Parking Fund comes from business license fees paid in the three parking districts based on the number of off-street parking spaces businesses provide and the number of employees working there.

Council is now accepting applications for 11 vacancies on a standing Parking Advisory Committee created by its March 2020 ordinances, composed of three members from each district and two at-large members who either work or live in Newport. The council hopes to interview and appoint members at its Dec. 6 meeting, according to a staff report from Community Development Director Derrick Tokos for the Newport Planning Commission’s Oct. 25 work session.

That committee will provide recommendations for city council on program details, such as what kind of meter will be purchased, where they will be installed and how much will be charged. The city estimates it can bring in as much as $350,000 annually though metering, with a proposed parking charge of $1 an hour.

A parking assets study found there are 386 on-street parking spaces on the Bayfront, 293 in City Center and 249 in Nye Beach. The city also owns 19 parking lots throughout the three districts, with the highest number of spaces in City Center and Nye Beach due to large lots at City Hall and the Newport Performing Arts Center.

The study also found about half of those lots would need some kind of major repairs in the next five years, with estimated costs ranging from $10,000 to reseal a five-space lot at the Hatfield Lift Station to $200,000 to rebuild pavement at the Nye Beach turnaround, where there are 45 spaces.

Those interested in serving on the parking advisory committee can apply at tinyurl.com/3c28wtrz.

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