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Businesses propose parking pass for shoppers

By Staff | Jun 14, 2013

At a meeting of the Shepherdstown Town Council Tuesday evening, business owner and SBA member Pam Berry presented a proposal for a “parkshopper’s parking pass,” pilot program.

“It’s just a never ending battle,” she said, describing parking issues for visitors to Shepherdstown.

“I get constant complaints from customers,” she said.

The town council considered a recommendation made by Shepherdstown’s Parking Committee to approve Berry’s daylong parking pass concept, which has been in consideration by the committee since April.

As Berry explained, the pass would be purchased from the Shepherdstown Police Department by SBA members and then sold or gifted to shop customers who might otherwise have difficulty parking at metered spaces.

According to Berry, the pass is designed to mitigate the volume of ticketing experienced by shop patrons, who she said are often less apt to return to Shepherdstown after receiving costly parking citations.

“They don’t come back,” she said.

Berry presented research examining the income generated from parking citations in Shepherdstown over the last two years.

According to her research, almost 33 percent of the total revenue generated from meters, permits and tickets, came from citations alone. This number climbed to 41 percent in 2012, she said.

“I just thought that was an uncomfortable number,” she said.

Mayor, Jim Auxer and council members agreed that a pass for shoppers would help mollify an “angst” associated with parking downtown, though council member Bane Schill raised a question about the legality of providing a pass to only certain groups of people.

“What’s the legal basis for excluding someone?” he said. “What if a student wants to buy the pass?” he asked.

After convening in executive session with town legal counsel, members voted to send the issue back to the parking committee for further discussion on it’s legality.

The next meeting of the Shepherdstown Town Council will be held Tuesday, July 9 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall