To the editor:

Newton’s law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. A perfect example of this is the unintended negative consequences caused by the parking contract that C. T. Martin (the head of the City Council’s Transportation Committee) has publicly admitted was a mistake and Atlanta City Council Member Howard Shook has called “a five-diamond mess”.

As co-owner of an independent retail shop on East Andrews Drive (a street targeted to be lined with 24-hour parking meters) we have been good corporate citizens as well as generous contributors to many local charities.

My question is, just where are employees of mine and the other small businesses so vital to the economy and flavor of Buckhead now supposed to park? There are no garages or parking lots in the area and parking on the street at $2 per hour with a two-hour parking limit is obviously not feasible for employees.

Due to City Council’s mistake of rushing into a contract with no public input or debate, I am now being forced to decide who gets to use our own limited parking: customers (without whom we could not stay in business) or employees (without whom our business could not operate).

Please understand, we are not looking for a “free ride” as our business contributes an extraordinary amount of money each year to the city and state in property tax, sales tax, business license tax, employee tax, ad valorem tax, inventory tax, etc.

Furthermore, trying to now justify this mass installation of meters by comparing Atlanta to New York or any other large metropolitan areas is not just misguided, but truly misleading. Manhattan (not personally a place I feel Atlanta should use as any kind of role model) has a vast amount of parking decks, surface lots and an incredible subway system. Our area of Buckhead has none of these options available.

The last thing the city of Atlanta needs to be doing in an effort to generate additional revenue during this great recession is penalizing small businesses with a plan that forces area merchants to move their businesses elsewhere or close altogether.

What a shame that our great city, which once touted itself as “the city too busy to hate,” is fast becoming a city too big to care.

Dan Belman, Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts