By DONALD WITTKOWSKI
Mechanical parking lifts that allow homeowners or businesses to “stack” cars on top of each other are rare in Sea Isle City.
City officials say they know of only three locations in town where there are parking lifts.
A new ordinance introduced Tuesday by City Council suggests that Sea Isle really doesn’t want to see any more of them built.
“They’re unsightly,” City Solicitor Paul Baldini said of parking lifts after the Council meeting.
The ordinance will be up for a public hearing and final vote at the March 22 Council meeting.
Although the proposed ordinance won’t completely ban mechanical car lifts or stacked parking, it does impose strict regulations to discourage them in both residential and commercial zones throughout town.
For residences, stacked parking spaces will be prohibited except for single-family homes and duplexes that have driveways and parking areas “which are clearly separate from any other driveways and parking areas on adjacent lots,” according to the ordinance.
Mechanical car lifts will be prohibited in all zoning districts except for a few exceptions, the ordinance says. They would be allowed in residential areas if fully contained within a garage. If they are built within commercial zones, they would have to be “shielded from public view” and enclosed with a roof.
“No outside car lifts shall be permitted,” the ordinance says.
Even if a homeowner or business owner is able to build a car lift, they would have to comply with a series of requirements in the ordinance to ensure the lifts would be maintained in good working order and would be safely operated.
The ordinance also will eliminate what had been an incentive to build parking lifts. Previously, car lifts could be counted toward the number of required parking spaces for homes or businesses under Sea Isle’s zoning laws.
But now, car lift parking spaces “shall not count toward any use or zone parking requirement in the Zoning Code,” the ordinance says.
Baldini explained that even if someone builds a parking lift, the top “space” of the lift will no longer be counted toward a homeowner’s or business owner’s parking requirements.
“Under the old ordinance, you could use stacked parking as one space of your requirements,” Baldini said. “With the new ordinance, you can only count the bottom space, so the top one doesn’t count.”
With the top space of a parking lift no longer counted, a homeowner or business owner would have to find another place for a second parking spot to meet the zoning requirements, he pointed out.
Baldini said because parking lifts are considered so unsightly by the city, Sea Isle wants to encourage developers to avoid including them in their projects.
“We want developers to put parking on the ground for residents and not on lifts,” he said.