A paid parking option will remain a fixture in downtown Plymouth for at least another month after the Plymouth City Commission voted Monday to keep valet services at .
The valet service, which operates 5 p.m.-midnight on Fridays and Saturdays in a busy downtown with sparse public parking, was given a 90-day trial in December. According to City Manager Paul Sincock, Compari’s owner Frank Yaquinto, who also owns the adjoining and the under-construction Sardine Room, reported about 35-40 percent of patrons who utilize the service also frequent other downtown businesses. Yaquinto also reported an average of about 35 cars per night using the service.
According to Sincock, the $5 valet service, which uses five public parking spaces along the main drag of downtown on South Main Street, diverts traffic from downtown during busy business hours. The cars parked by valet are driven to a private parking lot at on Ann Arbor Trail.
According to a recommendation to the City Commission from the Plymouth Downtown Development Authority, Yaquinto has offered the service to the public, not just patrons of his restaurant.
The valet will remain in operation until at least April 15 under the 25-day extension. It has not yet been determined whether Yaquinto will continue the valet service in the late spring and summer, which are popular times for patrons to walk throughout downtown.
According to the DDA’s notes to the city, owner Dan Johnson, who sits on the DDA, has expressed interest in offering financial support to continue the valet service.
Police Chief Al Cox said there haven’t been any safety incidents with the existing valet service, and DDA Director Tony Bruscato said there haven’t been any concerns about congested traffic from the influx of cars at the Main Street and Ann Arbor Trail intersection.
City Commission upholds rate for sidewalk café space
The Plymouth City Commission voted Monday to continue its rate of $1.50 per square foot per season for restaurants and cafes to use sidewalk space for outdoor seating.
Commissioner Ron Loiselle requested an increase to the sidewalk café rate from $1.50 to between $3-5 per square foot to alleviate stresses to the city’s police, fire and municipal services departments, but failed to gain support from fellow commissioners, who said they felt the outdoor seating is an incentive for people to visit — and live in — Plymouth.
The current policy limits seating to 30 spots on public sidewalk space.
Loiselle also asked to consider allowing businesses with one or two tables and a total of five or fewer sidewalk seats to be exempt from the charge, but that also failed to generate support.
Current businesses using downtown sidewalk space include Compari’s, Fiamma, the , and .
City Commissioners agreed to revisit the rate in January 2013, so businesses could have ample time to anticipate and budget for any changes.