Edmonds Planning Board recommends amending code to address residential vehicle parking

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Shane Hope
Shane Hope

The Edmonds Planning Board Wednesday night unanimously agreed to recommend that the Edmonds City Council adopt amendments to the city code aimed at addressing multiple vehicles parked on city streets.

The amendment to Chapter 17.60 ECDC would prohibit on a single-family lot the parking of more than four vehicles outdoors in the front yard, and it would also restrict the amount of impervious surface (such as asphalt or concrete) to no more than 50 percent of the front yard. The current code limits parking to five vehicles total on the property of a single-family home, regardless of whether they are located inside a garage, in a driveway or anywhere in the yard, City Development Director Shane Hope explained.

The recommendation is aimed at various situations around the city where residents keep multiple vehicles in their driveways and also parked in the public right-of-way. During a public hearing prior to the Planning Board decision, several people testified about one particular situation in the Maplewood neighborhood, where a resident is maintaining between 12 and 15 vehicles in various states of repair parked on his property and in the public rights-of-way on both Maplewood Drive and Sierra Street.

Neighbors have complained that there hasn’t been enough parking enforcement to address the problem. City officials have noted that current statutes allow vehicles to be parked on residential streets for a maximum of 72 hours, and the owner keeps moving them just enough to stay within the letter of the law.

John Espinola, who lives in the neighborhood, said the vehicles “obstruct the right of way, they contribute to safety issues with kids walking to school in the dark at this time of year… and also my neighbors and myself trying to walk safely through the neighborhood.”

He also told the board that while he appreciated the city’s effort to address the issue, he worries that the proposed amendment would actually make the situation worse by pushing more cars from the yard into the street.

“I think that the city could do a better job of enforcing it’s parking code,” Espinola said. “There are abusive practices where a car is moved, two cars are swapped from one spot to another and therefore can bypass the three-day parking rule. And we should find a solution to that.”

Espinola proposed that a system of citizen reporting be implemented, similar to what is now in place for HOV violations and people who cut into ferry lines. “It’s incumbent upon the violator to prove they didn’t violate,” he said.

Hope, who appeared at the meeting with Assistant Police Chief Jim Lawless, acknowledged that the change in the development code being considered by the Planning Board only applies to driveways and yards. But she added that development services and the police have been working together to develop a solution aimed at both the property and parking enforcement.

The police department has developed a separate proposal “specifically dealing with the number of vehicles that can be parked in a public right of way — i.e  the street — registered to any particular residence and within a defined distance of that residence,” Lawless said. The goal is to come up with a “holistic plan” that balances the rights of property owners and neighborhood concerns, and that also holds up if it is challenged in court, he added.

Now that the Planning Board has made its recommendation to amend the ordinance, the next step is for the combined development services/police department proposal to come before City Council for its consideration.

 

6 COMMENTS

  1. Because one or two people abuse the system, all of the other 40,000 plus ciizens of Edmonds must suffer a police state regulation. What about property rights in America granted us by the US Constitution. As a Edmonds property owner and taxpayer on a large parcel in Edmond, taking our rights one at a time must be challenged. This is starting to sound like the tree board fiasco of personal property rights from a few months back.
    Enforce rhe current regulations, do not make more regulations! Respect the taxpayer don’t over regulate them.

    Fred Gouge
    Commissioner Port of Edmonds

  2. There is a home on 7th Ave South that has had 7-8 cars parked outside on the street for years, perhaps 28 years.
    they have never had a ticket to move any of them. We need to be looking at the whole of Edmonds parking issues as a uniformed policy. On 6th Avenue, which has no parking restrictions, on a Friday evening there are cars that park all weekend until Monday morning, right near the Police and Fire Station, therefore restricting visitor, shoppers from parking there to enjoy our town. We must be the easiest town in Snohomish to just park a car, leave it for days, and come back (probably coming and going to the ferry) on a Monday morning and drive off. What about the people coming here to use our restaurants over the weekend?

  3. The recommended “new parking code” fixes nothing, imposes more restrictions on homeowners on private property (particularly in neighborhoods where the number of cars is obvious, i.e. those homes without garages even thought the new “code addresses total number of cars included those garaged, and can only lead to selective discriminatory enforcement. If a posh home with a three car garage has two cars routinely parked in their driveway (on the homeowners property), will that homeowner be cited for having 5 cars? Not likely if it is a Tesla or Mercedes…but in my neighborhood it may well be that should the City want to enforce the “code” they will be easily able to target homes with more than the allowed number of cars because many don’t have garages. And until the last few years not many expensive cars either. The code aims to target a problem in this neighborhood, although the existing code has not been enforced and it may indeed be a car related business in a residential zone. (Which the City has not enforced, or been unable to prove for years and years.). It is unlikely the enforcement of any new code will be any less discriminatory in nature than the “enforcement” of the existing one.

  4. We have a problem in our cul de sac, since the city of Edmonds got the law changed for I think the entire country, that every homeowner has a right to rent up to 5 rooms in their home. This often means in our cul de sac, 10 extra cars are parked on the street because the owner of the house who has a 3 car garage and lots of parking inside his gate alows none of the cars including his 3 to park inside the gate. It is difficult to navigate the hill in and out of the cul de sac because the cars park often illegally to close to a sharp bend in the road, which makes it impossible for two cars to pass each other in the blind spot. We are calling the police constantly as they overstay the limit. It is dangerous for children, people and anyone to drive on our street. We either need better signage warning “Slow we value our lives” or something that states the danger of entering and that it is a dead end street.

    On the other hand, With the homeless population growing by leaps and bounds and many people having to double up – this new regulation may exacerbate the homeless plight which is currently epidemic. I think this is something for us all to consider carefully.
    Actually I’m for the homeless and etter signage at the top of the hill into our cul de sac.

  5. “It’s incumbent upon the violator to prove they didn’t violate,” he said.

    Mr. Espinoza, have you ever heard of the Constitutional concept of “innocent until proven guilty”?

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