Downtown Everett college dormitory approved
EVERETT - A proposed college dormitory downtown won hesitant approval from the City Council last week after neighbors and an affected business criticized the plan.
Opponents say the five-story student dormitory building at the corner of California Street and Oakes Avenue would create a parking nightmare, and the owner of The Austin restaurant and bar next door said the dorm’s construction zone would kill his business.
The approximately 100-unit college dorm would benefit Trinity Lutheran College. The college’s development partner, Footprint Inc., intends to break open the dorm by fall 2015.
The site is currently a 33-space parking lot where a large number of The Austin’s clients park.
The Austin’s owner Chuck Delacerda said he just began turning a profit in October 2013. It appears his business can’t come to terms with Footprint.
His lawyer, Mitch Cogdill, threatened that approving the project would impair the lease The Austin has with its landlord over the parking lot next to the business.
In a portion of The Austin’s lease provided to the Tribune, it appears they are pointing to a section that basically says The Austin would share the parking lot with “landlord and other existing and future tenants of the building” on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The parking lot and the building at 2820 Colby were both owned by the Lions Club of Everett until the club sold both pieces of land to investors who are affiliated with Footprint.
In downtown, parking is scarce. City Council members acknowledged the parking issue in deciding whether or not to approve the project last week.
The dorm proposal has covenants requiring students’ cars stay off the street. The covenant would require all students living in the dorm to park at Trinity’s 358-stall parking garage two blocks away.
Trinity president John Reed said the dorm students’ cars would be monitored and said his students would follow parking protocols.
Opponents say that rationale defies common sense.
The students will park where they want, said Doug Lee, a former traffic cop from Marysville. He came representing Gospel of Light Church, which is a small church in the area.
“We have no issues with Trinity Lutheran College, but the concern is they are 18 to 21 year old people and they will park nearby,” Lee said. “If it’s cold and rainy, they’re going to utilize on-street parking when we need it most.”
Three churches near the project site, including the new Mars Hill megachurch, are cooperatively using the parking available nearby, Lee said.
Because there are no parking time limits on the weekends, though, Lee sees cars left parked in the area for the entire weekend.
Resident Ryan Lindley lives nearby and has similar concerns on parking.
“There’s really no way to force students to park where you want them to park,” Lindley said. “It doesn’t seem good at all for the neighborhood.”
The council voted 4-1 to approve the project, with Councilman Ron Gipson dissenting.
“I support this project, but I can’t support legislation that’s going to have an impact on the businesses down there,” Gipson said.
The Everett Fire Department has dedicated spaces on the southeast corner of California and Oakes. The council may consider taking away some of those dedicated spaces.
Everett Community College supports Trinity’s projects, EvCC vice president Pat Sisneros told the council last week.
Footprint operates fully furnished “micro-housing” apartment buildings in many Seattle neighborhoods and has similar developments in Oregon and California.
Footprint is using Everett as its pilot project, but is working on similar urban dormitories for five other colleges, Footprint CEO Cathy Reines said.