On Wednesday, October 22 at 7:00 PM the City of Saratoga Springs Planning Board will consider two steps that would advance the City Center Authority’s proposed parking garage project: 1) A determination on whether significant environmental impacts are likely, and 2) A subdivision application that is necessary for the project to comply with regulations.
Sustainable Saratoga is calling on the Planning Board to reject both the site plan and subdivision applications, because we believe the current proposal does not meet the standards of the City’s own zoning code, which contains guidelines requiring parking garages to be lined with buildings containing active uses, or a 50-foot setback for future such buildings; and that block lengths should be dramatically shorter than the plan proposes. And although the zoning code does not specifically prohibit the proposed parking bridge that would make a 120-foot tunnel on Maple Avenue, we believe it is inconsistent with our existing community character and would be poor urban design resulting in an inhospitable pedestrian environment.
Since the project does not even meet the City’s own standards for good parking garage design, and instead prioritizes the City Center’s supposed need for its visitors never to set foot on Saratoga streets, it would be premature for the Planning Board to make a SEQRA determination of likely environmental impacts. Only when the City Center presents a design that meets minimum city standards should the Planning Board proceed with environmental review.
Our full comments to the Planning Board are below: