Orange Park parks idea to reduce parking spaces

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ORANGE PARK – An idea by one council member to reduce parking space size requirements was met a resounding consensus of no.

Council member Roland Mastandrea brought up the idea during Tuesday night’s meeting. He wanted to see the size of city parking spaces reduced.

“I just became aware that, I believe, in 2016, we made some changes to parking spaces that took it from the 9-feet-by-18-feet to the current 10-by-20,” Mastandrea said.

Mastandrea proposed Tuesday that the council look into switching the requirement back to the original dimensions, but the council was opposed to the idea. Orange Park Economic and Community Development Director Stephen Smith said the town currently requires that 75% of spaces in town be 10-by-20 feet. The remaining 25% can smaller.

Up to 25% of parking spaces can be deemed compact, Smith said, and that’s part of the ordinance that’s been active in the town since October of 2016.

Mastandrea said the industry standard is 9-by-18 and that places throughout Clay County and Jacksonville follow that standard. Council member Alan Watt said he recognizes that but thinks 10-by-20 works best for Orange Park.

“I don’t think we need to be like everyone else in that way,” Watt said.

Council member Eddie Henley agreed with Watt.

“My opinion is that if it’s working, don’t fix it,” Henley said. “I agree with Vice Mayor. I own a Ford F150 truck and the majority of people in our town have trucks. They’re getting larger and larger...there’s just a small variance of clearance already in [lanes and in parking lots] and I’m tired of buffing out dents.

“It really doesn’t matter to have smaller spaces because even with identification that (a parking space) is for compact cars, you’ll find any and everything but [compact cars] in those spaces.”

Mayor Connie Thomas wasn’t in favor of the change either and the council eventually agreed Mastandrea’s plan was unnecessary.

In other business, Watt and Henley both expressed their excitement to serve the town for three years and look forward to continuing the progress they’ve made on the board. Both Watt and Henley are unopposed and will retain their seats following the general election.

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