Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Lot about Parking: Court of Appeals Affirms LUBA and SCAN at Blind School

The court case ruling on the Hospital's proposed parking lot at the Blind School is a lot about a lot.

Not to trivialize it, but mostly it's a lot of technical interpretive wrangling over the meaning of the word "lot" in (the now former) SRC 111, 130 and 133:
The dispute in this case centers on the term “lot” as used in SRC 133.050(a).
It's not a very interesting decision to read, unfortunately.

But in the end, in SCAN et al v. City of Salem and Salem Hospital (272 Or App 292 (2015)), the Court of Appeals says, "the hospital has advanced no reason for us to conclude the LUBA's incorrect."
As reported in the paper today, the City's response is oddly non-compliant:
“We’re disappointed because we believe the city’s interpretation of our application was the correct one,” Salem Hospital spokeswoman Sherryll Hoar said Wednesday. “But the court of appeals has made its decision known. We need to review thoroughly what the court said and we’ll be having some conversations to figure out what our next steps will be.”

City Attorney Dan Atchison said the hospital has other avenues under city code to accomplish its original plan, he said, and it could reapply to get their parking plan approved.
It's hard to know what to say. Even as the City continues to struggle with the capital burden of the downtown parking garages and their underutilized stalls, the City apparently wants to encourage others to overbuild parking. This makes no sense. Hopefully they'll get it figured out.

Another interesting question is, as some others have speculated, whether this will have wider implications for the way the City has approved and/or mandated parking minimums on other developments where multiple lots have been aggregated into a "super lot." It's possible that this will spur some real rethinking, both by the City and by developers.

1 comment:

Jeff Schumacher said...

It's a shame the city thinks its job is to advance the interests of a few specific constituents rather than implement good policies that advance the interests of the city as a whole.