At the City Council meeting on Monday, January 5, 2015, Council members unanimously approved a variance to the Cleveland Heights Zoning Code for the Alcazar, which was recently purchased and is slated for renovations. Here’s my take on the vote:
Before the City Council vote, the Alcazar was ‘grandfathered’ for 62 apartments and 122 ‘lodging units’, which means that if the new owner had retained that configuration and filled the place up, it would have been eligible for 184 parking places – way more that it has at present. I don’t believe that the Alcazar has been accommodating anything like 184 residents and guests, but we were unable to determine what the occupancy has been.
In any case, the conversion by the new owner to 96 apartments reduces the potential parking demand. The Alcazar does not have 96 enclosed parking spaces; it is short by 34 enclosed parking spaces. It has long had six reserved outdoor spaces in the parking lot behind Aladdin’s and adjacent businesses, and that continues.
The new owner of the Alcazar has said he would obtain unused parking permits for the lot behind Nighttown that runs over to Euclid Heights Boulevard for Alcazar residents that will need them. He also anticipates that some residents may not want a car parking space; that is a trend, but who knows.
Having said all that, I understand the need for more parking in the Cedar Fairmount area (either that or a ‘mode shift’ to walking or bicycling, which is definitely less attractive at this time of year!). Adding parking is definitely challenging because of the expense and space limitations.
The shortage of parking at Cedar Fairmount keeps coming up. University Circle/CWRU has a circulator that comes up to Cedar Fairmount. My husband and I are big Cedar Fairmount fans. I’m sure that all of us representing the City of Cleveland Heights will keep cogitating and try to do what seems best, but there are no easy answers.