Hartford eyeing major downtown parking-lot operator fee hikes in hopes of spurring new development

The city of Hartford is considering significantly raising fees on downtown parking-lot operators, a move that will help raise new revenue, but also likely lead to higher parking rates for consumers. The city council is scheduled to vote on an ordinance change at its Dec. 14 meeting that would increase the biennial permit fees it charges downtown parking-lot operators from a maximum of $1,000 per parking lot to as much as $28,900 or more, depending on the number of spaces in a particular lot. The pending ordinance change is likely to draw the ire of two major Hartford-based parking operators: Propark and LAZ Parking, whose founder and CEO Alan Lazowski is also a major downtown investor and landlord. About 17% of downtown Hartford’s 2 square miles is occupied by parking lots, according to Norman Garrick, a UConn civil engineering professor whose research on Hartford was used by the city council to form the permit fee hike proposal. That’s about 80% more land dedicated to parking than in cities with similar populations, like Cambridge, Mass., and Arlington, Va. In addition to wasting space that could be occupied by businesses or housing, Hartford is missing out on some $20 million a year it could collect in property taxes, if buildings were constructed on the lots, Garrick’s research found.


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