City considers neighborhood permits to address parking overflow from nearby apartments

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    Parking was the topic of conversation at the Lynnwood City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 5, as the council heard more about a proposed city ordinance that would require neighborhood parking permits to address overflow parking from nearby apartment projects.

    At the request of the Lynnwood City Council, Public Works Director Bill Franz presented the ordinance that would give residents of neighborhoods affected by spillover parking the ability to register their cars for neighborhood parking permits.

    “Once we have (the ordinance) in place we have the ability to enforce those that don’t have permits that are parking,” he said.

    City staff at Monday’s meeting pointed to two neighborhoods that are experiencing the issue.

    Residents of the Scriber Creek Apartments, located in the 21000 block of 44th Avenue West, have begum parking in a nearby Lynnwood neighborhood to avoid an on-site parking fee. This has caused nearby residents to complain about the lack of street parking.

    In addition, Planning Manager Todd Hall said developers underestimated the amount of parking required for the SHAG senior housing building on 40th Avenue West. Hall said parking for the building meets the city’s development code, but the city anticipated the area would have more foot traffic.

    “That location, the City Center area, is where the city wants more development and expects it to have a higher density, so it had less parking,” he said. City Councilmember Shannon Sessions said while Lynnwood might one day be ready to go without as many cars, the city is not there yet.

    Traffic Engineer Paul Coffelt told the council that planners believed more seniors would take advantage of plentiful bus service on 196th and thought fewer SHAG residents would drive due to their age.

    Because more seniors than anticipated want to keep their vehicles, the lack of provided parking has caused parking overflow on 40th Avenue West, 194th Street Southwest and 192nd Place Southwest, Coffelt said.

    Franz said as Lynnwood continues to grow, so does the possibility of more parking generators outside of those from multi-family neighborhoods.

    “It could be things like parking for the train, it could be a school, it could be a church,” he said.

    Franz said for the ordinance to pass, more than 50 percent of residents of the affected neighborhood would have to vote in favor of the neighborhood parking permit.

    Because the plans for a neighborhood parking permit are still in the beginning stages, Franz said the city would have to decide how best to accommodate the needs of affected residents.

    Franz said those wanting a parking pass would be required to bring proof of residence to receive a parking permit for each of their vehicles. Guest parking permits would also be available.

    Franz said there are no plans to charge for permits at the time.

    “There’s potential in the future it might get to the point where costs for administering the program might get high enough,” he said.

    The council also heard an update from Franz on the Recreation Parking Lot Expansion Project, which would provide additional parking spaces for the city’s Recreation Center located next to city hall.

    The city had planned to use the recently acquired Rostad property west of the fire station for the expansion, but it has been halted due to the high cost and the risk of harming the sequoia tree on the property, Franz said.

    An aerial of the Civic Center Campus, showing the area discussed Monday night. (Photo courtesy City of Lynnwood)

    Instead, staff is considering whether the Rostad property could have the potential to be a park. Parks and Recreations Director Lynn Sordel said the property has a lot of utility because it is connected to the Mesika trail on the Lynnwood City Campus and could serve as a program space for the Rec Center.

    “I think the property sets up very well for a small park connected to the Mesika trail and also the connectivity to the neighborhood across the street,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of potential there.”

    In other business, Lynnwood Police Chief Tom Davis presented to the council the Lynnwood Community Justice Center Project, which would use a city-owned lot adjacent to the police station for an expanded jail, court and police department. Davis said the location, which is between the police station and the Community Health Center (CHC), would facilitate a police partnership with CHC to offer medically-assisted treatment options for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

    “There’s great opportunity for us to partner and to provide proper, acceptable, expected service to members of our community and to have this partnership with CHC that allows them to continue treatment,” he said.

    Information on the Justice Center project presented to the council Monday.

    Davis said the project would also save the city money since jail inmates could begin court-ordered treatment in-house, instead of releasing an inmate who could potentially not meet the court requirements, leading to their rearrests.

    The jail expansion could save the city $1 million annually in contract housing costs as well as the $200,000 a year Lynnwood pays to rent storage form Edmonds Community College to house evidence, along with other cost savings, he said.

    “We’re very, very optimistic about the timing, the location of the property the city currently owns and the location with our community partner at CHC,” the police chief said.

    The council also heard the last of its 2019-20 biennium budgets from Community Development Department, presented by Director Paul Krauss. Krauss proposed a biennium budget of $6.9 million, a $524,734 increase from 2018-19. Krauss said at least $4 million of the cost of operating community development is offset by developer fees.

    — By Cody Sexton

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