CROWN POINT | The design of a proposed off-site library parking lot downtown is headed back to the drawing board after concerns were raised about safety and traffic congestion.
The parking lot for Crown Point Community Library employees is intended for the northwest corner of East Street and Robinson Court, across from the new $12 million library being built in the 100 block of North Main Street.
Plans for the parking lot are on hold after the Board of Zoning Appeals this week deferred granting a variance to allow a small part of the lot to infringe on a required setback.
Plan Commission approval for the lot was granted in March, contingent on the zoning variance, and on the city making Robinson Court a one-way, westbound street.
David Austgen, whose law office is west of the parking lot site, said traffic on Robinson Court, a narrow street that originally was an alley, would be made more dangerous by traffic entering and leaving the parking lot.
In designing the lot for 25 vehicles, "they're putting too much into too little," Austgen said. "And it's unsafe."
Zoning board member Vern Segert also worried about congestion at the busy intersection of Robinson Court and Main Street.
"With the lot designed the way it is, it would force everybody to go west on Robinson Court onto Main Street," Segert said. "I told library officials, don't let your education get in the way of common sense."
Patrick Schuster, the lawyer for the library board of trustees, said library officials will look at the possibly of reconfiguring the parking lot.
Library officials are in the process of buying the parking lot site. Three structures on the site are to be demolished, Schuster said.
The parking lot is intended as a private lot for the library's approximately two dozen workers, but officials have considered permitting use by others when the library is closed.
A separate 53-space public parking lot is already approved at the center of the 100 block of North Main Street, between the new library and City Hall.