Additional study will determine whether changes are necessaryComments?
The Pullman Planning Commission will consider possible changes to downtown parking codes following an extensive study of the area.
During its Wednesday meeting, the commission asked city staff to gather additional statistics on the downtown parking situation, despite an informal study recently completed by Planning Director Pete Dickinson.
Requested by the commission in January, the study showed there are more residential units in the downtown area than there are parking spots. Dickinson's study, which was shared with the commission Wednesday, was not comprehensive and did not provide the exact number of bedrooms in each residential unit.
The commission agreed that current codes - which do not require developers to provide parking spots for residential units in the downtown area - can easily be exploited.
Recent development proposals in the Central Business District zone created controversy because fewer than one parking spot was proposed per apartment, regardless of the number of bedrooms. Pioneer Hill residents voiced opposition to the projects, which they believed would create parking problems that would affect their neighborhood.
Bill Gnaedinger, a Paradise Way resident, requested that the commission re-evaluate the downtown parking situation and consider a possible code change that would require developers to provide one parking spot per bedroom.
"Put the burden on the developer for a variance," he said. "There's a problem waiting to happen, and it's happening."
Commission Chairman Stephen Garl agreed it's about time the codes were revisited.
"I think it's worthy of a review," he said.
The commission asked that Dickinson and his staff collect more data regarding the downtown parking situation. Relevant information would include an inventory of the number of bedrooms present in downtown residential units, parking spots, potential development, peak parking hours and comments from property owners, business owners and residents.
Dickinson said the comprehensive study will not be complete until summer.
Commission member Jandi Utzman doesn't think more studies are needed. She said enough public outcry has been heard to know parking in Pullman is a problem.
"I don't understand why we would want more studies," she said. "What more could it tell us?"
Gnaedinger agreed. He said further studies are merely postponing action.
"The process of amending the code will bring out all other parties," he said. "We'll hear from them. We don't need another study."
Garl said any additional information would be helpful, particularly comments provided by stakeholders.
"To go one direction without gathering more information, I think we end up shooting from the hip," Garl said. "These are all people we need to hear from."
Gnaedinger said he expects developers to clamor for permits before any code change is enforced.
Still, he's pleased with the commission's decision to investigate a potential change.
"At least it's an action," he said.
In other business, the commission discussed the possibility of re-evaluating the city's urban growth area to incorporate a proposed annexation to the north and east of city limits.
The commission agreed that public input and a joint meeting with Whitman County commissioners are necessary to make any boundary decisions.
"I think it's appropriate that we get together (with commissioners) again," Garl said.
Meeting dates have yet to be set.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
"Planning commission may revise downtown parking codes"
From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News: