By Alejandro Dominguez Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — Drivers can park in downtown Snohomish for as long as they want.
At least for now.
The city had planned this month to start ticketing cars parked for three hours or longer in the same spot, but has postponed issuing the $30 parking tickets in the downtown core at least until the start of the new year.
There are several reasons for the delay: The city didn’t get the traffic signs on time, holiday shopping already has started and the city wanted to give business owners and employers more time to find alternative parking.
“We don’t want to start in the heart of holiday season,” city manager Larry Bauman said.
Meanwhile, some business owners are protesting the new ordinance. Some of them have put signs on their venues on First Street wanting to repeal the parking time limit.
Under a new city ordinance, people can park for a maximum of three hours in 425 stalls on First Street, between Avenue D and Cedar Avenue.
Signs telling about the changes are scheduled to be posted in early December, Bauman said.
More than a week ago, several business owners spoke out against the time limit at a City Council meeting.
One of them was Steve Gurney, who said his business, Antique Station in Victoria Village, would be harmed by the measure.
This is because Gurney leases space to antique dealers who need more than three hours to move and purchase merchandise, he said.
He said he also is concerned about how the issue was handled.
Gurney started gathering signatures of owners and employees asking to delay enforcing the change by three months so more information can be provided by the businesses. He said he has collected about 40 signatures before stopping the effort.
“I don’t believe there’s a parking problem here. I am gathering more information so the community can be informed on the decisions they are making,” Gurney said.
Historic Downtown Snohomish, a nonprofit aimed to boost business in downtown, did a survey of businesses that showed support for the new parking rules. Gurney said that was flawed, because only 16 out of a total number of 314 business owners filled out the survey.
“More work has to be done to say the vast majority want the parking limit,” Gurney said.
Representatives from Historic Downtown Snohomish were on the committee that recommended setting the time limit.
Historic Downtown Snohomish held three public meetings to talk about the issue. It also sent out information to its members and made an effort to get everyone involved, president Ed Poquette said.
While not all business owners participated, the ones who did were mostly in favor of the limit, he said.
“We really made an honest effort to get anyone involved,” Poquette said. “I would like to have all business actually respond but it didn’t happen here.”
Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; email@example.com