NEWBURYPORT — The waterfront possesses enough parking to permit commercial development, according to the findings in the draft of a parking-impact study released by the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority last night.
The study by John M. Burke, a Marion consultant who once served as parking director in Portsmouth, N.H., states that if the NRA’s proposed development along the Merrimack River is built, there is enough parking, both on-street and off-street, within a five-minute walk of the waterfront to absorb vehicle demand on all but the busiest summer nights and special-event weekends.
Burke said that parking spots turn over constantly downtown and that it is rare when there is a lack of spaces in this city.
About two dozen area residents attended the meeting, with some expressing displeasure that the NRA is proceeding with its plan. But all listened intently to the results of the study, which was made public for the first time.
The NRA recently approved a tentative plan by Union Studio of Providence, R.I., to make significant changes to the 4.2 acres it controls along the river. Much of that land is currently being used as public parking, with kiosks.
That tentative plan calls for two commercial buildings, plus an increase in the amount of park space and landscaping.
The two structures, on either side of Market Landing Park, would include shops, restaurants and condominiums. They would also offer space for the offices of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry and for public restrooms.
Because its lots currently provide a significant amount of parking, the NRA commissioned a parking study that would assess the impact of its plans.
The NRA proposal includes the following features, according to the report:
69,850 square feet of commercial-residential development
48,000 square feet of upper-residential condominiums, 33 units with two dedicated parking spaces per unit under the buildings