Planners say more parking spaces have been made available recently in the Capitol Complex
Planners hammering out the parking situation for the new Kent County Courthouse got another break from the Dover Planning Commission Oct. 18 when the panel voted to further decrease the number of parking spaces that have to be designated for the new facility.
City code requires 490 parking spaces for the new courthouse based on the building’s square footage; in 2007, when the project was taking shape, the Planning Commission waived 45 of those required spaces because of a lack of suitable land for new parking lots near the courthouse’s downtown Dover location.
Now, the planning commission stated project planners only have to set aside 392 spaces for the courthouse, 20% fewer than the code requires.
Gregg Moore of the engineering firm Becker Morgan Group in Dover is working with the state on the courthouse project.
He told the commission that most of the parking for the facility is going to be in lots around the Capitol Complex, the plaza of state government buildings that surround Legislative Mall.
Because the state decided to relocate its fleet vehicles, as well as add more parking spaces behind the Dover Federal Credit Union building at the end of Water Street, there is more parking available in those lots than ever — some 232 spaces, to be exact.
The rest of the courthouse parking will be on the other side of Water Street, in a new lot the state will build on the site of the former DART bus transfer station, which is being moved to a new facility a few blocks to the west.
In total, Moore said the courthouse is making a total of 418 spaces available.
“There is a perception in the downtown area that there is no parking. Parking is much improved now,” Moore said. “We believe we do have enough parking available for the new courthouse.”
But, just to be safe, Moore and the state asked for a lower total-space requirement from the city.
The request passed unanimously but not without some skepticism.
Commission member John Friedman said he’s worried that the parking spaces supposedly dedicated to the courthouse can’t really be made off-limits to other drivers.
“One of my biggest concerns is who’s laying claim to these parking spaces,” he said. “There really isn’t any way to tell.”
New school district building
The commission also lent preliminary approval to a new administration and maintenance complex for the Capital School District, to be located on the site of a former lumberyard in the Enterprise Business Park.
The seven-acre site at the corner of Commerce Way and Hazlettville Road will accommodate a brand-new 30,000 square-foot administrative office building and a 16,000 square-foot maintenance building.
Architects also plan to save a large pole barn at the rear of the site and use it to store school buses and other vehicles.
With money from its recent referendum, the district plans to begin construction of the maintenance shed as soon as the end of the year.
A second phase of work will include construction of the administration building, which contains a new meeting room for the school board and space for district-wide staff training events.
At this point, planners hope to be able to fit an array of solar panels to the roof of the administration building but that will depend on project costs.
When the new facilities are completed, the current administrative offices at William Henry Middle School will be torn down.
Numbers to Know
490 Parking spaces at courthouse required by code
392 On-site Parking spaces to be provided with variance
418 Total courthouse-dedicated parking spaces in the area
Email Doug Denison at firstname.lastname@example.org