Most of the meeting was devoted to a staff presentation on the shared parking concept which was started in 1992-1993. It was instigated to allow projects to be approved even though their individual projects would not meet parking requirements. It was passed around the same time as the “Village Concept” which promoted people living downtown in mixed use projects.
Then the staff went over the in lieu parking fee program which started charging approx. $6000 per parking space when it first began. The charge for a developer is now $26, 750 per parking space. The in lieu parking program has $970,000 in its account. So far it has spent some money on the bus that goes down main street and $500K to buy 25 parking spaces at the strand. I find this LOL funny as we gave up 231 spaces when the Strand was approved and we are now paying $25k a space to get them back
According to staff a report by an outside Consultant, the Walker report, determined that we had enough parking but it was not being utilized. Staff acknowledged that the signage is not very good and many people do not know it where the parking is available, they hope to correct that. Building another parking structure is also another possibility.
Lyn Semeta asked for more detail of what we intend to do with the current in lieu fees for. Staff answered that they may buy more spaces from the Strand and also put money into cleaning up and painting the parking structure. Dan Klamick how the permit parking plan passed for 7, 8, 9 street would affect the parking situation. Michael Hoskinson asked about the effect of Pacific City coming on line and perhaps parking could be shared or some people may use the facilities downtown.
After the discussion on the in lieu parking fee program they around to talking about the project to build a 9600 sq. foot building of mixed use where 122-124 main street now are (Waco’s and next store). There was a lot of discussion about whether to save the façade and move the project back to the same setbacks as the neighboring buildings. This would give more walking space for the public. Ron Troxell brought up the setback issue with the new building, but I don’t believe it was ever thoroughly answered. I did not attend the Planning meeting after the study session so do not know much about who voted for or against the project or the other questions that were answered during their discussions.
Besides the excellent presentation on the Parking programs, which came about because Lyn’s question the previous study sessions, I learned a few other things. The Walker report and or staff say that only 34 days out of the year at certain times the parking downtown is inadequate. It would be nice to know what the criteria for that statement is. Also it would helpful to find out how exactly how the Strand determines which aces are allocated to the public and which are not. And if we have adequate parking 331 days a year why did we spend $500K to add 25 more spaces.
Anyway it was a good meeting attended by more people than I normally see at a study sessions and as I said the staff report on our parking program was very well done. I’m sure I left out a lot but at least this gives you an idea on what went on.