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VRE says lot will stay open
BY SCOTT SHENK
The 34-space Virginia Railway Express lot on Sophia Street apparently isn't closing just yet.
After saying last week that the Fredericksburg lot would be closed as of today, Virginia Railway Express reversed course yesterday, saying it plans to keep the lot open until mid-December.
On Oct. 26, VRE posted on its Facebook page that as of Nov. 1, Lot F would no longer be available for commuter parking. As of yesterday, the Facebook post hadn't been updated with a new date.
Spokesman Mark Roeber said last week that the "costs outweighed the benefits" of keeping the lot open.
Van Perroy, who owns the lot and Fredericksburg Square, to which the lot backs up, said he told VRE he wanted to close the lot as of Nov. 1. But VRE officials told him their agreement stipulates that he give 60 days notice.
Perroy, unhappy with VRE as well as the city for allowing commuters to use the city's parking deck for what he called a low monthly fee of $60, said VRE is trying to "force us against our will" to keep the lot open until December.
Perroy said VRE sees the parking deck as a way to avoid paying lot owners like him for space in the city, where parking for commuters is tight.
Roeber didn't deny that, but added that commuters have a choice whether to use the deck or one of the other seven free VRE lots in the city.
The original lease expired a year ago, and since then VRE and Perroy continued with a month-to-month lease, said Perroy, who gets $60 per space each month, which comes to $2,040.
Roeber said VRE had been negotiating the lease and "there was a cost increase involved."
Perroy denies that, saying price had nothing to do with the failed negotiations and figures weren't really discussed. Instead, he said VRE wanted him to foot the costs for maintenance. He also said that after an inspection earlier this month that VRE wanted certain repairs made for liability issues. He said he had the lot resurfaced.
But Perroy said he can't afford to pay for the maintenance, which includes such things as resurfacing and striping the lot, as well as plowing after snow.
Roeber said the original lease agreement stipulated that Perroy had to handle the maintenance.
Including Lot F, there are 860 spaces for VRE commuters in the city.
Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436