Pay up for parking: City confirms you have to pay at new brewery parking lot

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - A battle over parking is brewing between the city of Wichita and a local brewery that opened its doors last month.

Dan Norton, the owner of Norton's Brewing Company says a lot to the south of his business has about 40 stalls and four rows worth of parking.

It's something that was a selling point for Norton when he decided to lease and put money into renovating the building for his brewery.

Now, he says finding out the city charges a fee to park in that lot.  It's something that has him concerned about the impact it could have on business.

"About three-quarters of the way through construction, we showed up out of the blue and there were numbers painted on all these stalls and I talked to somebody at the car park and they said they were also going to install a new pay box," said Norton.

That wasn't the case, Norton says, when he decided to rent the building.

"This parking lot to our south, when we were looking at leasing this building, was wide open, no enforcement, no pay box, no numbered stalls, so that was very attractive for us when we decided to lease this building," said Norton.

He says the issue over parking came to a head earlier this week.

"Tuesday morning, everybody in this lot got a 25-dollar ticket," said Norton.

It is something Scott Wadle, Senior Management Analyst with the city of Wichita says might have not been handled in the best way.

"The enforcement that took place on Monday, which really what provoked the reaction, I've apologized that that occurred without prior communication," said Wadle.

Wadle says they met with Norton in January and explained their was a two dollar fee to park in the lot.

"This has been a paid parking lot since approximately 2011," said Wadle.

However, for Norton, he still wants an explanation.

"I guess I just don't understand why something like this would happen when we are trying to boost the economy in downtown," said Norton.

A sentiment echoed by his customers, like first time visitor Wayne Ruffner.

"You come to spend some money down in the Old Town area and you have to spend more to park, I don't think it's fair,: said Ruffner.

Wadle says he will be going out to businesses in this area to discuss the parking situation.

Over the next week, he says he'll provide reminders that some lots are paid lots, before beginning regular parking enforcement.

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