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Danbury officials look into designating downtown parking lot as surplus for sale

The City of Danbury is looking into the possibility of declaring a parcel of land, currently being used a parking lot, as surplus.  That would allow the City to sell off the property and put it back on the Grand List.  The land is located off Main Street on Liberty Street, behind the Family Dollar store. 

Planning Director Sharon Calitro says there is a fenced off cut through which, according to plans from 1990, was meant to be a pedestrian walkway.  There are easements there as well for utilities and electric lines, which Calitro says would have to remain clear.  Normal parking requirements for developments are relaxed in the Downtown Revitalization Zone.  Any development could use its proximity to the garage to get an exemption.

(Photo: Google Maps)

City officials believe developing the walkway would increase pedestrian use of the area, which is seeing an increase in students walking to Naugatuck Valley Community College campus nearby.  

If there's a developer City officials have in mind, the City Council could hold a vote and sell it to someone specific.  City Counsel Les Pinter says the ordinance prefers putting out a request for proposals. 

Parking Authority Executive Director Debbie Pacific says there is plenty of parking downtown, so while Danbury does make money off the meters and permits, the 42 spaces aren't needed.  The lot includes 24 metered and 18 permit spots.  Annual maintenance on the parking lot is minimal.  On ay given day, Pacific says the Patriot Garage is three-quarters filled.  There are 515 spaces, with another 386 at Bardo garage, which is about half filled on an average day.  She notes that the numbers drop significantly at night because most are commuters.

The parcel is in the middle of a designated Opportunity Zone.  72 tracts of land were recently approved by the U.S. Department of Treasury to get a federal tax incentive for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into the area.  Investors are able to then decrease their federal tax burden through the preferential treatment of capital gains. 

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