Downtown's might be alleviated this winter when /Fiamma Grille and Panache each test-drives valet parking services for customers, but the city's inventory of free parking could take a hit.
The City Commission approved valet parking for both businesses Monday during its regular meeting. Both businesses also require approval from Plymouth's Downtown Development Authority, from which Panache already received the OK. Compari's will seek DDA approval before it begins the service. Both businesses will test-drive the valet service for 90 days.
Bob Kolo, owner of Panache, said he would charge $3-$4 per car and utilize private space owned by property owner Denny Pennington in the Westchester Square area near Forest Avenue, where his business will operate. The valet's operation will occupy six currently free public spaces along Forest Avenue.
Panache is expected to open in December, utilizing the former 1999 Tavern space at 447 Forest Ave.
Frank Yaquinto, owner of Compari's and Fiamma, will open his valet service to patrons of other downtown businesses. His operation will use five public spaces along South Main Street in front of his two restaurants, along with The Sardine Room, a restaurant attached to his other two businesses, which he is in the process of building.
While the City Commission weighed the long-term impact of valet parking and how it could expand, Mayor Dan Dwyer said he is interested primarily in seeing how the 90-day test run works out.
"I just want to get through these 90 days," he said. "It's a change to this community, to have a private business park cars. If it’s well-received and successful for the residents, for the business owners, we can have grand conversations on how to make it bigger and better."
The City Commission voted 5-2 for each business, with Commissioners Gerald Sabatini and Diane Bogenrieder casting the dissenting votes.