Parking and Children’s Park top city council Monday agenda

“In-lieu parking” tops a wide-ranging agenda for Hood River City Council when it meets on Monday.

Council will consider a resolution that makes a significant change in policy regarding how much developers are required to pay for the impacts of on-street parking. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, Second and State streets.

Council will consider a recommendation to hire Play by Design to design and build a new play structure at Children’s Park in 2018. The structure was closed for six weeks in late spring when parts of it were found to have dangerously deteriorated. Since Memorial Day the structure has reopened, with some parts closed or removed.

Opening Monday’s meeting will be presentation of retirement plaques to employees Cindy Walbridge, who has served as planning director for 30 years, and Jesse Birge, building and mechanical inspector and plans examiner.

At issue with the in-lieu parking fee resolution is the increased demand for already-precious on-street parking spaces that happens with new construction. The resolution is an outgrowth of a proposal this summer by Key Development to build a 70-unit housing development at Fourth and State streets. The company had asked the city to reduce the in-lieu fee to $100, for all residential projects, a proposal that drew fire from other downtown businesses who are dealing with a frequent shortage of parking and its impact on their bottom line.

The resolution would affect the downtown, waterfront and Heights districts, and stipulates that the in-lieu fee for required off-street parking will be $20,620 per parking space for all residential and commercial uses that provide overnight lodging and transient rentals, and any residential use combined with a non-residential use.

The resolution also stipulates that “if at least 50 percent of the required parking spaces for a multi-family development for residential use are provided, then the fee is $1,144 for each of the second 50 percent of required spaces.”

In other business:

City Manager Steve Wheeler will suggest council consider next steps for waterfront area paid parking, and recommend free downtown parking for Hops Fest on Oct. 7 and Harvest Fest Oct. 14-15.

If the Children’s Park contract is approved, Play by Design would have until May 26, 2018, to complete the project, for which the city has budgeted $300,000. A community “design day” would happen in October or early November, with demolition of the current structure planned for April and construction to occur in May.

Public Works Director Mark Lago will provide a follow-up to presentations made to council this summer on odor control at the waterfront wastewater treatment plant. Steps taken include some mechanical improvements as well as reducing the hours in which commercial haulers can dump waste at the facility. Hood River is the only location in the Gorge accepting septic waste from commercial sources, including portable toilet waste from county orchards.

Council will interview applicants Mark Frost and Brian Becker for a position on planning commission, to be vacated by Nathan DeVol.

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