Downtown Snohomish limits on parking put on hold

SNOHOMISH — People still can shop downtown without worrying about parking fines.

That’s because there won’t be three-hour parking limits for the 425 stalls on First Street, between Avenue D and Cedar Avenue.

At least for now.

The city had planned to start enforcing a new parking ordinance in January. Now city staff plans to talk to all businesses in downtown to reach an agreement, city manager Larry Bauman said.

This could mean holding meetings or conducting polls, but there are no concrete plans.

There is no timeline because the city wants to reach a parking solution everybody can support, Bauman said.

“I see nothing wrong in taking several months to find a consensus,” Bauman said. “There’s so many different opinions.”

The ordinance setting the parking limit still is part of the city code, but it won’t be enforced until the City Council decides what to do with it, Bauman said.

The parking limit was approved by the council in late October as an attempt to increase parking turnover in the area and to help local businesses get more clients during the holiday shopping season.

The recommendation came from the nine-member Parking Technical Committee, which was comprised of city staff and businesses representatives.

Then came delays as business owners and employees spoke out against the ordinance during council meetings. Some business owners began displaying signs calling for a repeal.

The new approach to get all businesses involved is a good idea, said Steve Gurney, owner of Antique Station in Victoria Village on First Street.

Gurney was against the parking limit, because he believed it would harm his business. He also thought Historic Downtown Snohomish, a nonprofit aimed to boost business in downtown and member of the parking committee, did not have enough input from businesses before pushing for it.

He is now happy with the proposed city’s approach.

“It’s important the merchants in the area voiced their concerns,” Gurney said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@ heraldnet.com.

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