Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Reinvigorating Downtown

The following statement comes from H & R Development in Pullman:
I have sent you this e-mail in hopes that we would get additional opinion regarding a mixed-use project we have proposed for the South end of downtown. Please pass this info along to anyone who you believe is interested in the future of downtown. We believe this project will have a positive impact on the future of downtown!

We have requested a conditional use permit from the City of Pullman, Board of Adjustment to allow 1 residential unit for every 500SF of land. Without this conditional use permit only 1 unit for every 1000SF of land can be developed. We believe that a more dense downtown population base is an integral part for the continued health of downtown. We need to have a living, working and walking population base that can frequent, better stabilize and support downtown businesses.

The City of Pullman understands the benefits of this project and are in favor of granting this conditional use permit. However, neighbors have expressed concern regarding the parking, increase in density and overall quality of life. These are all valid concerns and have and will continue to address the concerns in the best manner possible. We believe the overall benefits of this project far outweigh the negatives and a delicate balance must be struck to address the concerns while not throwing out the project or making it infeasible with additional restriction and requirements.

Downtown projects such as the River Walk, Bridgeway Centre and Town Centre has inspired us to “buy” into downtown and continue the vision of creating a unique and vibrant downtown. Without the momentum created by these, it is doubtful that we would have invested into this vision. Our hope is that our project will keep the ball rolling and continue the revitalization of Downtown Pullman! Perhaps this project will inspire others to do the same.

Please help by showing your support by sending letter and testimony! The hearing is on February 12, 2007; 7:30PM and City Hall.

Letter or e-mails can be sent to Pete Dickinson, Planning Director:
325 SE High
If they can solve the parking issues and eliminate "party house" concerns, I think the Paradise mixed use project has the potential to really reinvigorate the look of the southern entrance into downtown Pullman. If you look at the map above, you will notice the area they are considering encompasses the Northwest Auto Parts store on the corner of Grand and Paradise, as well as the ramshackle apartment building behind the public parking lot next to the Pullman Grill and Bar.

If you feel the same, I encourage you to contact the city and express your support, either by letter or by testimony. I'm quite surprised that the advocates of "smart growth" in Pullman, including PARD, have not been more vocal in their support of this project.


April E. Coggins said...

I support the project if they can tackle the parking issue. As it is proposed, there will be 50 apartment units and 26 parking spaces. The overflow will have to compete with current retail and residential parking. If the overflow is only one car per apartment, it will take half of the Shermer's parking lot. If each apartment has more than one car, it could require the entire lot. That scenario would cost nearby businesses many lost customers, which seems to me an overall loss for downtown Pullman.

Scotty said...

I agree April. Parking on Pioneer hill could be negatively affect just as it is on college hill where you have more people living than places to park cars.

I love the idea of the place! We just need to realize we are in a socitey where everyone has a car. And as such, we need to plan our developments and streets accordingly.

April E. Coggins said...

Northwest Auto Parts is not part of the project, they will be staying. The larger parking lot pictured in the plans is the Shermer Parking lot and Northwest Auto Parts (NWAP) is adjacent.

The area is zoned C-2, which allows for one apartment per 1000 feet of lot space. The lot is 25,000 square feet, allowing him to build 25 apartments outright, with no parking requirement. He is asking for a variance, which would allow him to build 50 apartments. Only because he is asking for a variance can the
City can impose a parking requirement. In my opinion, the City zoning code needs to be updated to address modern parking issues.

Tom Forbes said...

Here's what I know about that:

It is my understanding that Northwest Auto Parts will be part of the mix. NWAP will relocate as they don't necessarily need the prime spot on the corner.

H&R is withdrawing its request to reduce the City proposed parking requirement from 1 parking stall for every unit to .75 based on letters from neighbors, voicing their concerns regarding parking. They feel this is a reasonable compromise.

In order to meet the parking requirement, they have asked the city whether it is possible that they will need some sort of access from High Street for a parking lot. The City staff report and the H&R current conceptual drawing do not currently show this access, nor do they show sufficient parking to meet this requirement. They have asked Pete Dickinson if the possibility of this access simply be noted so that it won’t limit this possibility of this access for the future.

April E. Coggins said...

The plan as submitted shows the NWAP building as still standing, regardless of the occupant. If the plan has changed, the documents need to be updated so that everyone can be up to speed.

Tom Forbes said...

The Conidtional Use Permit application states the following as the location of the property:

"Property bounded by Paradise & High Streets (north & east), McKenzie Street (undeveloped - south) and city parking lot adjoining Grand Avenue (west)"

I'm posting another map showing the location.

April E. Coggins said...

The striped area is the project, the unstriped area is not.