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Easton Could Seize Downtown Parking Lot

Council scheduled to make eminent domain vote Wednesday. Owner says to expect a challenge.

Easton City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on whether to condemn a N. Fourth Street parking lot that could someday be the home of a new city parking garage.

The new lot could be years in the future. But to secure the land, the city plans to take the land by eminent domain from current owner Scott Kindred.

Kindred, of Martins Creek, says it won't be that easy.

"They’re going to have to pay me," he said in an interview last week. "Probably more than they think. I’m trying to derail this thing before it gets too far along."

Kindred bought the lot from Wells-Fargo in November 2010. He uses it to provide parking for his tenants, which include the Sweet Girlz Bakery, a hair salon and an insurance office.

There's room for about 25 cars now, he said, with space for maybe 10 more if he demolished the bank's former drive-through kiosk.

The city's parking study identified the lot as a good place for another garage. Mayor Sal Panto has said a parking garage there could eventually replace the one on Pine Street. 

The second garage would complement one that will be part of the city's intermodal unit. 

But Kindred also kept coming back to another point in the parking study: "Easton has enough parking; it's just mismanaged."  

Kindred said he hopes residents come to Wednesday's meeting. It's not just that he wants people to back him up. He wants to hear what they think.

"If they want it," he said, "I’ll go away."

Parking Brake January 21, 2013 at 01:57 PM
While I think the city urgently needs to address its increasingly difficult parking situation, this might not be the solution. The landowner is using the space. He might not be making improvements, but he is using it. The city uses a lot just across the Bank Street alley for its own vehicles. It is usually empty. I'm not sure if they own or rent but something could be done there as well. I believe the owner of the property has a valid argument that the city is currently mismanaging available space. This lot owner opens up his space during large events and charges a reasonable fee for all day parking. This owner is parking friendly. He should not be punished by taking his land. There are many other property owners who could benefit by following his example. Instead, we have neighbors who share large lots on the other side of town and are overly protective and greedy. They squabble and argue amongst themselves and cry to the city for help but refuse to offer to help find a solution to this problem. And the city takes a cautious delicate approach because they don't want to rock the boat. It would seem that with the parking situation, the city leadership is favoring the path of least resistance rather than the right path. This one doesn't look right.
Rob Leiser January 21, 2013 at 04:22 PM
To Mayor Panto and your Goon Squad; This is not your Land. How many 3rd st Parking spaces did you loose because of all that decorative curbing.
Annonymous January 22, 2013 at 03:58 AM
This is ridiculous! Mayor Panto, when will you stop this madness? You eliminated parking when 3rd St was repaved, you're increasing meter prices, and now this? What will become of the existing parking garage? Another empty lot, more retail/restuarant space, how about luxury condos that will require yet more parking?! You're taking away Easton's small town charm, it's historical integrity and making it difficult for those living here and making it the laughing stock of neighboring towns. I suppose if anything, however it will give these other areas a lesson in what not to do. I look forward to the day when I can move out of the city!
Rita Chesterton January 22, 2013 at 04:18 AM
Parking garages are ugly...and at night they're dangerous. People can park in other parts of town, and walk. We all need to walk more, anyway.
Katja Kruppe January 22, 2013 at 03:42 PM
I think that space would be much better off with a little re-design for additional spaces and some landscaping. A few trees or shrubs in the lot to make the city greener would be much nicer than additional garage space. Lights to make it friendly and safe at night. The city should work with the owner of the lot rather than take it over.
Annonymous January 22, 2013 at 03:49 PM
I couldn't agree more!

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