While Millburn Train Station neighbors have requested Lot 2, away from their neighborhood, be considered for a parking garage, the Millburn-Short Hills Chamber of Commerce endorses the garage be built on Lot 7.
Shayne Miller, chamber president, issued a statement to the township committee from the chamber supporting the garage on Lot 7, which is along Glen Avenue. The committee is analyzing the options of building the garage at Lot 7 or on Lot 2, which is at the corner of Lackwanna Place and Essex Street.
The chamber's two main concerns are freeing up space in Lot 2 currently used for valet and commuter parking to be used for diners and shoppers. Additionally, there is concern about the impact of area businesses during construction.
Residents at recent meetings on the topic of commuter parking have suggested Lot 2, citing how it would be a benefit to both commuters and the downtown businesses.
"The goal of the this project has nothing to do with the businesses," Miller said in an interview on Tuesday. "It would be most beneficial to the businesses to free up that lot ... We all would like a centrally-located lot, but that is not what this project is about."
Plus the project could have serious ramifications during construction, he said, because it would tie up the 300 parking spaces for 6-9 months.
"The damage on the businesses could be just as serious as what has happened during the (Millburn Avenue) bridge project and the businesses in that area," Miller said. "The businesses in that area rely on Lot 2."
The chamber's position also puts them at odds with the opinions of the train station neighbors on Glen Avenue and Cape Court. But Miller said chamber members have been to the site and don't think a garage would have a significant impact on the neighbors because of how set back from the area they are.
"If we felt this would truly impact (the neighbors), we wouldn't push this position," he said.
He said the garage could improve things for the neighbors by cutting down on the noise of the trains. He cited how township officials try to make things look aesthetically pleasing. He suggested township officials work with the arts committee to find ways to beautify a garage. "A parking garage doesn't have to be ugly," he said.