Port Angeles adopts temporary ban of surface parking lots

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council has approved a temporary moratorium on the installation of surface-style parking lots within some commercial sectors of the city as it looks at land-use code revisions to address the housing crisis.

The council approved the moratorium Tuesday. It is required by law to conduct a public hearing within 60 days of the adoption.

In August 2020, the council approved two professional services agreements for an audit on the city municipal code including evaluation of the city’s land use. The city is looking specifically at Titles 14, 16, and 17 of these codes which deal in construction and subdivision zoning.

The city received a grant from the state Department of Commerce to revise these codes and increase residential capacity, focusing on commercial zoning districts to permit for residential uses.

“This code audit work is a substantial investment of the city to help improve housing capabilities for the city’s approved Housing Action Plan,” said Allyson Brekke, director of Community and Economic Development.

During the analysis of these codes and the drafting of new codes, surface-style parking lots were identified as problematic for the intended goals of the code revision work.

According to Brekke, surface-style parking creates excess hard surfaces in the city which sometimes require the demolition of adjacent buildings that could otherwise provide housing in the community.

Additionally, they defeat the city’s goal of making Port Angeles a more pedestrian-oriented place, with high-quality commercial block fronts, she said.

This temporary moratorium will impact most of downtown Port Angeles from Railroad Avenue to Eighth Street.

It is intended to allow city officials to explore new land-use regulations and designs when it comes to parking in commercial areas.

“The city has spent a lot of money and time in looking at new development codes, but none of those codes have gone through the full process yet,” City Attorney William Bloor said.

“The moratorium, in this case, is simply to put a hold on any applications being processed for surface parking lots until the Planning Commission and the council can get input from the public to determine what policies will be implemented in these new codes.”

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Reporter Ken Park can be reached at kpark@soundpublishing.com.

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