Huntley eyes parking plan as downtown sees spaces nearly double to 560

Final plan would be approved at later date

The downtown Huntley area is pictured June 30, 2015.

As Huntley is set to nearly double the amount of public parking in its downtown, village officials are discussing how to divvy up how those spots get used.

The proposal was discussed last Thursday by the Huntley Village Board. It covered nearly 20 different areas with more than 560 total parking spots, including about 200 overnight spots for downtown residents.

The list includes 70 on-street and lot spots for two-hour parking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; eight spots for 15-minute parking outside the post office that turns into two-hour parking in the evening; 188 spots that allow more than two-hour parking; overnight parking in 201 spots; and about 100 spots for overflow and event parking, according to village material.

Some of the new spots will be in new lots being built by the city, including parking at the new Cornell apartments, as well as at various developments where the village has agreed to construct public parking stalls.

Discussion on the parking plan, which would officially be approved at a later date, comes as the village sees heavy development in its downtown corridor in the form of new businesses and residential buildings.

The goal of the parking plan is to support businesses in the area, Village Administrator David Johnson said at the meeting. In that effort, village officials met with businesses downtown to collaborate on the plan.

“I think it will be good and you’ve got to start somewhere.”

—  Huntley Village President Timothy Hoeft on the village's approved parking plan

The proposal was something several trustees said they supported, despite most of them saying they had trepidations when they first saw it.

“I didn’t like it at first, but now I think it’s OK,” Trustee Niko Kanakaris said. “I hope they don’t ticket anybody, but we need to do this for the businesses.”

Johnson throughout the discussion said the intent was not to ticket people, adding they wouldn’t want to put officers down there for enforcement.

Trustee Harry Leopold shared a sentiment similar to Kanakaris’s, saying the village could “give it a try.”

Village President Timothy Hoeft said he had some questions when he first saw it, but also stressed the goal was to keep things moving in the downtown area for businesses.

He also said the village has the ability to go back and change the plans if things aren’t working, calling it a big change since the village is on track to almost double parking in the area.

“I think it will be good, and you’ve got to start somewhere,” Hoeft said. “If we’ve got to adjust it on the fly, we can.”

Trustee Mary Holzkopf said she thought the plan was “commonsensical.”

“The plan looks overwhelming, but once you speak through it, it makes sense,” she said. “It’s very well thought out.”

“When you go to eat and you sit with your friends, then you want to shop in the shops.”

—  Huntley Village Trustee Ronda Goldman on her concerns for the new parking plan

Trustee Ronda Goldman was the one trustee who took issue with the plan.

In multiple areas, she thought the maximum times allocated in several areas were too short. She wanted the two-hour parking to be increased to three hours and the short-term, 15-minute parking to be 30 minutes.

In the case of two-hour parking, Goldman said she thinks if people can’t park long enough, it could hurt businesses.

“When you go to eat and you sit with your friends, then you want to shop in the shops,” Goldman said.