As land development plans for yet another hotel were accepted Thursday by City Council, the talk turned toward parking availability downtown.
"Are we reaching a point where we are overbuilding?" Councilwoman Liz Miele wondered aloud. She was concerned there may be too much emphasis on building hotels but without enough thought about parking needs.
City Councilman Randall J. Allison, too, posed a hypothetical question. He wondered if the city would have enough parking capacity should another industry, other than firms related to natural gas, experience a boom.
The administration, meanwhile, expressed confidence what it is building and has built will suffice.
"We have sufficient parking within three blocks in any point downtown," said William E. Nichols Jr., director of administration.
Mayor Gabriel J. Campana wants to see a full review and study on parking issues. The talks would involve himself, his administrative department heads, private developers and merchants, he said.
Campana also said he's encouraged by developers who want to build their own parking or find arrangements for parking for guests and employees.
He stressed the success of the conversion of the Scottish Rite Auditorium on Market Street into commercial office space and up to 60 parking spaces in a garage below. The developers, who are from Harrisburg and the city, are building it because of the commercial tax abatement in place, Campana said.
"I'm delighted we have these parking issues," he said. "It means commerce is picking up."
Williamsport Parking Authority chairman Anthony Cipolla said the authority will work closely with the administration to find enough parking for future development.
He saw where there may be occasions when some employers would have to switch around based on who might be in the parking garages. He also said he saw benefits for developers in the future to make sure they provide parking for their customers and workers.
The authority recently raised the monthly parking rates to address the need to provide enough reserve in its account to continue to pave and make infrastructure improvements to the existing ground lots, he said.