TRAVERSE CITY — Slip holders in Duncan L. Clinch Marina could have one fewer parking permit starting in 2020, and those using transit slips could have none at all.
Traverse City Commissioner Brian McGillivary is requesting seasonal slip holders get one parking pass instead of two for the 2020 boating season and thereafter, and that transient slip users get none instead of one. He said he thinks one parking permit for seasonal slip renters in Traverse City’s public marina is plenty.
“I do not understand why anybody would need two parking permits to be down there,” he said.
McGillivary said he sees no reason why transient slip users should get a parking pass. He’s open to hearing arguments for it when city commissioners discuss his request at their meeting Monday.
McGillivary’s concerns surfaced after Traverse City Parking Services planned some changes to parking around the marina, he said.
The department, a part of the Downtown Development Authority, removed parking meters from spots immediately adjacent to the marina’s south and east walls, DDA CEO Jean Derenzy said. The meters came down toward the end of June.
Those spots now are dedicated to marina users, documents show.
City Manager Marty Colburn said the spots were set aside because Traverse City Parking Services stopped honoring marina parking passes in other city lots. Derenzy said the change took effect in 2019.
Those changes are a response to the loss of two large public parking lots, one at the end of June and another in 2018, Colburn said.
Both are development sites — Innovo Development Group is building atop a former public lot near Garland and Union Streets, and Pine Street Development One plans to start construction soon on a lot the city leased at the corner of Pine and West Front streets.
Losing those two lots placed more demand on downtown parking, Colburn said.
Monday’s discussion could be a good opportunity to examine how the city charges for parking versus its actual cost, city Commissioner Tim Werner said.
Werner previously has pointed to the price of paving and maintaining a spot versus what people pay to keep their vehicles there.
He wants to ask if marina slip holders pay the true cost of their spots.
“I doubt it, because we don’t do it anywhere else in the city,” he said.
Werner said he was undecided about McGillivary’s proposal, and floated another suggestion: offer parking passes a la carte. That would prompt boaters to think about whether they need one, two or no spaces, he said.
Commissioner Richard Lewis said he’s waiting to see how the discussion goes. He’s not aware of any requirement that the city issue parking passes to marina slip holders.
“But these people pay pretty good money to have a slip in the marina, and we want them to use the marina,” he said.
This year’s seasonal rates range from $2,544 for boats up to 24 feet long, to $6,660 for boats as long as 60 feet, according to information from the city. Transient slip users pay daily rates by the foot, from $40 for 25-foot boats and shorter, to $118 for 75-foot boats, then $1.60 for each additional foot.
Both Lewis and McGillivary said they doubt docking the number of parking passes slip holders get would hurt marina business. McGillivary pointed to the marina’s lengthy waitlist and said anyone who does tie up elsewhere would be quickly replaced.
“I’m sure there are people who would jump at the chance to get their boat down there,” McGillivary said.