A discussion about four proposals by Cherry Street Hotel developers made up a significant part of Monday night’s City Council meeting.
Council members tabled a vote to allow the hotel to lease 99 parking spaces in the Tenth and Cherry Municipal Parking Garage. These spaces would accommodate guests of the future six-story, 140-room hotel.
According to a council memo, 31 spaces on Level C of the parking garage would be marked “Hotel Only Spaces.” The additional 68 project spaces would remain unreserved.
Because the garage is now at full capacity, the developers would be given priority to lease the 68 vacant spaces as they become available, paying the standard monthly rate, according to a council memo.
Several people came forward during public comment section of the meeting to say they worried that residents would lose permits for the garage or land at the bottom of the wait list to receive a permit.
Some were also concerned about how the loss of hourly parking spots would affect small businesses and workers downtown.
Council members and residents did see the economic benefits of a third hotel downtown, however.
Members of the council did unanimously approve a design adjustment that would combine two lots for the project and waive a utility easement requirement.
In other action, the council approved:
• A proposal to build a half street with a curb along Hitt Street to accommodate a sidewalk and a future loading area for the hotel.
• Construction of two wetland pools, a boardwalk with a lookout deck and a series of trails as part of the MKT Wetlands improvement project. The construction will cost $120,000.
• The design and construction of a fourth generation unit at the Landfill Gas Electric Generation Plant for the city landfill. This unit is a part of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, and the estimated cost is $2 million. It will be funded by electric utility funds.
• A six-month delay in enforcing regulations on short-term rentals, such as those offered through Airbnb, Vrbo and others in the online vacation rental marketplace. The council and the Planning and Zoning Commission have been trying to establish regulations for years, but it has proved to be difficult.
• The installation of a $300,000 fence at the top of the Fifth and Walnut Parking Garage in an effort to prevent people from jumping off the roof.
• A proposal to compensate retailers 25 cents for every trash bag voucher redeemed to cover the costs associated with the new trash program. This was approved by a 6-1 vote, with Fifth Ward Councilmn Matt Pitzer voting against it.
The city council will meet again Aug. 2.