NOTE: This article has been updated and corrected with additional information.
Hellertown Borough Council Tuesday approved consideration of a one-year parking lot lease agreement with a restaurant–the 1774 Grille & Tap–that’s about to open on Main Street.
The agreement would be for the parking lot across from the Hellertown post office at Water Street and Delaware Avenue, which is about two blocks from the eatery.
The vote took place after solicitor Michael Corriere told council the borough code permits it to lease a borough-owned parking lot to a business, and recommended that council develop a formal policy regarding the leasing of public parking to help address any future requests it may receive.
Council could either lease the lot for a token amount, such as $1, or for the calculated fair market value, he said.
Former borough councilman Joseph Pampanin, speaking as a resident, told council he feels it is businesses’ responsibility to arrange for their own parking.
He recommended council only consider approving a short-term lease of up to three years, and consider stipulating in the agreement that the borough can use the lot if it needs the parking. In such a case, the affected business would have to decide whether it could open on a day when its regular parking is not available, he said.
Restaurant owner Kim Culver initially approached council earlier this month about the idea of leasing the Dimmick Park parking lot several blocks from the former Ricardo’s/Original Tavern House building, which she purchased late last year.
Another option that was discussed was the lot on the site of the former Reinhard School, but questions about a deed restriction on that property–which was once owned by the Saucon Valley School District–made it a less attractive option.
A parking lot at Northampton and Penn streets that was long used by Ricardo’s patrons and is owned by First UCC is unavailable to lease at this time, and Culver’s building only has 10 off-street parking spaces, which she said will likely be used by tenants of studio apartments in the building.
Culver said she plans to contract with a valet service to shuttle patrons’ cars back and forth between the lot and the upscale 1774 Grille & Tap, which is expected to open by early March.
The use of the valet service and the borough lot by 1774 Grille will free up on-street parking in the area of the 600 block of Main Street, where there are already several well-established restaurants, she added.