Businesses upset over proposed parking ordinance

More parking: Helping or hindering business?

JACKSONVILLE - A proposed parking ordinance in a Jacksonville neighborhood is causing a rift between some business owner and residents.

While business owners in the Riverside-Avondale area are trying to expand, some said this ordinance would put the brakes on any growth.

The ordinance would require every expanding business to create more parking spaces for patrons, because officials said there are not enough spots for everyone coming downtown.

"That's the part of the give and take with the businesses and the residents to make sure they fit, that's the whole idea," said District 14 City Councilman Jim Love, who created the ordinance.

The ordinance would require businesses that serve alcohol with 150 seats or more, or businesses that take up 2500 square feet, to provide half the required parking by the city.

Opponents to the ordinance like Ben Davis, owner of Intuition Ale Works, said Love's quest to add more parking in historic districts means fewer businesses can go in.

"I don't know where they are going to find it," said Davis. "This ordinance is effectively a ban on restaurants and bars."

Davis said the requirements don't work for a business and have dissuaded him from putting one there, he said there are plenty of potential business owners who are in the same situation.

"I want to keep my options open but right now there's a lot of other parts of the city that don't have an ordinance like this in place and would welcome us with open arms," Davis said.

Love is defending the ordinance, saying residents have to be represented in an effort to maintain the integrity of the neighborhood. By doing this, Love said, they are preserving business' livelihoods.

"If they don't have any parking they won't survive, so we are actually trying to make sure that they survive and thrive," said Love.

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