In Edmonds: From parking lot to parking nightmare

Planned 9-tenant apartments have no off-street parking
By Ian Davis-Leonard | Aug 09, 2018
Photo by: Brian Soergel A new apartment complex in Edmonds is not planning to have parking for residents.

Plans for a new apartment complex on the corner of Edmonds Street and Third Avenue North have left city planners perplexed and neighbors dismayed.

Under current plans, the site, which was formerly a private parking lot, will be turned into a three-story, nine tenant apartment building with no off-street parking.

While the site will provide a bike rack and is near a bus stop, all vehicle parking will be on the streets surrounding the complex.

Neighbors are less than pleased by what will certainly result in an increase of cars in front of their properties.

“It’s not a good thing for the neighborhood to have this,” said Jeff Phillips, a homeowner in the area. “More than likely, 10 to 20 cars are going to be trying to park in front of my house.”

According to Phillips, neighborhood parking is already adversely affected by large Edmonds events like the Fourth of July parade, Taste Edmonds (which is Friday through Sunday) and the Edmonds Arts Festival, as well as by smaller day-to-day occurrences such as events at the Edmonds Center for the Arts. There’s also ferry commuters.

“Parking has always been an issue there,” Phillips said. “We’ve had cars towed and certainly a lot of tickets, and as property owners ourselves we’ve been ticketed many times.”

Shane Hope, development services director for the City of Edmonds, was taken aback when she learned of the plans.

“I was actually surprised,” Hope said. “I didn’t think it could be that we had any apartments approved of with no parking on site.”

As a result of its location within the city, the apartment site falls under a unique code within the downtown business zoning district of Edmonds that allows for the apartment development.

Edmonds Municipal Code 16.43.030.D.3 states that “no parking is required for any floor area in any building with a total building footprint of less than 4,800 square feet.”

Hope said that while the code, which dates back at least 10 years, makes sense for small businesses in the building district, but a residential building like an apartment complex normally should have on-site parking. She added that everywhere else in the city it is expected that a residential building have on-site parking.

“It’s kind of an obscure piece of our code,” Hope said. “No one has ever applied for it to our knowledge, no one has been approved for it, there is no one else asking for it.”

Despite the code’s obscurity, unless the builder changes the plan, the apartment complex will go forward legally as all items must be reviewed under the existing code.

“This is an unusual circumstance,” Hope said. “It does appear to meet the code and doesn’t require any particular review.”

Hope said that her office and the Edmonds City Council plans to bring up consideration to perhaps amend the piece of code soon, but that there is not much that can be done about the apartment complex on Edmonds Street and Third Avenue North.



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