City repeals parking fees to boost business
The city of Blaine repealed current parking fees at Monday�s city council meeting in an effort to boost downtown business, eliminating parking costs for business owners.
Up until now, city regulations stated that if businesses did not have adequate off-site parking space, it would sell parking on the right of way at the cost of $2,500 a spot. However, the city deemed this unnecessary based on the current state of downtown parking.
�That�s a fairly steep price for a city that doesn�t have a parking problem,� said Terry Galvin, Blaine�s community development director. �We realize we�re going to have to address parking and come up with a solution over the long run, but in the meantime, we�d like to revitalize business and bring people in. It does not make any sense to apply these kinds of requirements when the city does not have a problem.�
Costs that businesses endure during the SEPA (state environmental policy act) review, when proposing a project, were also discussed, specifically the motion to raise the threshold rate.
�There are costs to them (businesses) as well as to us,� said community planner Russell Nelson. �But by raising those thresholds, smaller businesses or smaller development come in under those thresholds and they don�t have to go through that review, thereby lessening their (business) costs.�
The council referred the rates back to the planning commission for further review. �I think the concern that the council was expressing, was that the planning commission had gone a little too conservative, and they would like to see those thresholds to raise a little bit higher,� Nelson said.