“Everyone is suffering from the lack of parking,” said Kadoura, owner of Mediterranean Deli. “People no longer want to come downtown because there isn’t enough parking.”
He said he proposed a solution to this problem — a new parking lot built on Rosemary Street on a lot he owns between West Rosemary and North Graham across from Greenbridge Condominiums.
In a Chapel Hill Town Council meeting Monday, the parking lot idea was proposed. The plan included a five-year leasing agreement between Kadoura and the town, along with $75,000 worth of funding for the parking lot.
The lot would include 33 to 35 parking spots, one-third of which would be used for hourly parking at a rate of $1.50 per hour. The remaining two-thirds would be used for reserved monthly parking.
Kadoura said he bought the lot to have parking for his employees and a place to store the restaurant’s vehicles, but after noticing Greenbridge was in need of parking, he decided to propose the parking lot to town officials.
“Greenbridge is in need of parking, and the people of Chapel Hill are in need of parking,” he said.
Council member George Cianciolo said he understands there is a parking issue but believes the council needs more information about the proposal before approving it.
Cianciolo said the council wants to hear input from Chapel Hill residents because the parking lot is near the border of Chapel Hill’s commercial zone and residential zone.
“We wanted to hear from residents that live nearby whether or not there is going to be an issue with there being a parking lot at the edge of their property,” he said.
Council member Maria Palmer said she isn’t a fan of parking lots because she doesn’t think they contribute enough to the community.
“It’s a lost opportunity,” she aid. “It’s a great property; what else could go there?”
Palmer said she would recommend building senior housing at that location.
“There are people that may not be able to maintain their homes,” she said. “But this is their community, and they love being where they grew up.”
She wants to know more about the intention for the lot.
Cianciolo said the council is also concerned about what would happen with the lot after the five-year lease expires.
Kadoura said after the lease expires, he is open to discussing construction of a more permanent parking garage.
“I’m willing to talk about a multistory parking lot because I understand how bad parking is,” he said.
Cianciolo said discussion will continue on the proposal once there’s more information.
“It’s not the amount of money we’re concerned about,” he said. “We’re concerned about the unintended consequences that might come from approving this proposal.”