A “public-private partnership” is the goal for a proposed three-story parking structure, attorney Robert Campbell told the Gettysburg Historic Architectural Review Board (HARB) Wednesday.
Campbell represented Jacqueline White, who wants to build a deck for 192 vehicles to address parking needs in the vicinity of Steinwehr Avenue.
“We hope we can partner with some stakeholders in the area,” potentially including WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital, said attorney Sam Wiser. He also represented White, who owns the Dobbin House Tavern on Steinwehr.
Eight audience members, including owners or representatives of several Steinwehr businesses, rose to speak in favor of the parking deck.
“It’s a terrific idea,” said Paul Witt, whose family developed the Best Western Gettysburg Hotel and owns Quality Inn Gettysburg Battlefield, both on Steinwehr.
If White “can pull this off, she deserves a medal,” Witt said.
The parking structure “would help everybody up and down the entire street,” said Wade Leedy of Tommy’s Pizza on Steinwehr and FourScore Beer Co., which is to open soon on South Washington Street near White’s site.
One audience member rose to express concern that the parking deck might look too urban and modern to fit in with the borough’s historic character.
Borough Planning and Historic Preservation Director of Becky LaBarre said the proposed design, featuring brick veneer and arched windows, would “fit in nicely” with existing buildings, including the WellSpan building across Washington from the hospital.
In addition to more parking, HARB member Phil Goble said the Steinwehr area needs public restrooms, which are not included in the current parking deck proposal.
White is willing to discuss such “amenities” with the borough as plans are “refined,” Wiser said. Also, he said White is considering including a “bicycle station” that would fit in with the borough’s continuing Gettysburg Inner Loop bike and pedestrian path project.
The project would include demolition of three houses and a commercial building on the east side of South Washington Street between Gettys Street and Johns Avenue, said engineer Peter Martin, who also represented White. The borough approved demolition of the houses, which White owns, in 2011. They date from the second and third decades of the 20th century, White said.
A separate demolition permit would be required for the fourth structure, officials said. The cinderblock building, formerly a dry-cleaning business, provides office space for White, Martin said.
The parking deck could help nearby businesses wishing to remodel or expand, Wiser said. The borough allows parking requirements related to such projects to be fulfilled via leased spaces within 1,000 feet of the business, he said.
Plans also include reconfiguring Court and Dobbin alleys to access the site and create a few surface parking spots, Martin said. The alleys, which would remain borough property, now meet at a “bad-angled intersection,” he said.
“I’m one hundred percent committed to this project,” White told HARB, saying she has been working on it for many years and it would facilitate economic development. She likened the proposal to a continuation of the partnership between the borough and the Steinwehr Business Improvement District that gained millions in grant funds for repaving, decorative sidewalks and lighting, and other improvements along Steinwehr.
The proposal remains in the early stages of the borough’s approval process. HARB’s role is solely to recommend whether the borough council ought to issue a “certificate of appropriateness” which is required for projects in the borough’s historic district.
Though some members expressed general support of the concept, HARB made no decision. Members voted 6-0 with one abstention to table the matter for additional discussion. Chair Gary Shaffer recused himself, saying he has a financial relationship with the petitioner. He owns the Shaffer Design Associates architectural firm in Gettysburg.