PORT ANGELES – A proposal to change parking ordinances in Port Angeles went nowhere at this week’s city council meeting because the 6 members present had a tie vote on whether to even discuss it, which is the same as shooting it down.
City councilman Mike French introduced the proposal, which has two elements:
1. Do away with the Municipal Code that requires builders to provide off-street parking anywhere in the city.
2. Revise a similar code to take out the part says you have to provide off-street parking when you add an accessory dwelling unit (or ADU, also known as a tiny house or mother-in-law apartment) on your private property.
French told KONP that his next move was to ask Mayor Sissi Bruch to reintroduce the subject at the next council meeting. We asked her to give us her thoughts on that.
“I agree that we need to look at parking. I know that the research supports Mike French’s proposal that parking isn’t necessarily something that we want to pay for. His proposal came in with two items. One was to get rid of one section all together, and the other one is to have ADU’s have no parking requirement. I think that we can move forward in both directions, but we might have to take more time for one versus the other. So for the ADU’s, I think that that’s something that I will absolutely bring forward for the next meeting. For the second part, I want to be able to first figure out exactly what are some of the rules that could get in the way. And something that was brought up during Council was the fact that the Growth Management Act may require some communication with the folks there to make sure that we’re following all the rules. So that’s one of the things that we’re going to have to research and but I totally agree that we absolutely need to take a look at parking and in my mind absolutely we either the reduce it or get rid of it.”
Objections at the meeting seemed to have less to do with the content of French’s proposal than with his method of presenting it. Councilmembers and city staff were not given any advance notice of his intentions.
“So I appreciate Mike bringing this up. But I also understand why some of the other council members weren’t very happy about that. He was actually trying to be more respectful by saying ‘hey all counsel, here, let me bring you this idea’, instead of just having me put it on the agenda. So I can see it from both points. Opening up the whole idea to for discussion is what he wanted to do and a public hearing is what opens up things for the public, and having one or two readings or three readings. I was hoping that council would say ‘okay, you know what? Let’s take this as an idea. Let’s discuss it tonight and then open it for a public hearing at the following meeting.’ But we didn’t get that far at all. It’s okay to disagree and it’s okay that you know, we believe in different processes, but I think all of us can say that we’re all working for what we think is best for Port Angeles .”