Main Street Commons Update: Scope changes delay permits but bring improvements

Work continues on the Main Street Commons project planned for the old Edmonds Thriftway site at 6th and Main, now expected to open in late 2020.

“We’d originally hoped to have it completed later this year,” said developer Mike McMurray.

But the delays have not dampened McMurray’s legendary enthusiasm for his project and the Edmonds community, the latest example of which is Main Street Commons’ sponsorship of the music stage at the upcoming Edmonds Oktoberfest. “I really love this town and people in it,” McMurray said. “I grew up here, and I guess it’s just in the blood. It’s been great for me and my family — honestly, I wouldn’t live anywhere else — and I want to give back something special.”

McMurray explained that the delays are primarily due to a longer-than-expected permitting process. “We have several permit-specialist consultants helping us review and fine-tune our permit applications to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed,” he said. “But the uptick in construction and economic activity all over our area is keeping these folks hopping, and frankly, they’re really stretched — which means it’s taking more time for everyone. On the good side, this delay has given us a chance to review our plans and make some changes in scope, which will mean a better end result, but also contribute to these delays.”

The changes include several features to increase the architectural appeal and add to the aesthetics of the project. Among these are increasing the glass area facing Main Street, designing a new set-back grand entryway directly off Main Street, adding a permanent awning over the sidewalk along the north side of the building, seismic improvements, and creating additional parking off the alleyway on the project’s south side.

“I’m confident we’ll have the permits submitted and approved by the end of this year,” McMurray concluded. “We’ve already got contractors in place to start construction, so as soon permits are approved we can break ground. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to open our doors to the community before the end of 2020.”

— By Larry Vogel

0 Replies to “Main Street Commons Update: Scope changes delay permits but bring improvements”

  1. How many parking spaces besides the 8 spaces shown in the drawing for the ally? If that all they are planning? If so then the city needs to take a closer look! We already don’t have enough parking in that area,

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  2. There must be upwards of 20-25 spaces in that surface lot. Hard to believe there isn’t a requirement to maintain an equal number of parking spaces when a new building goes up. Just dumping that parking need on an already packed city street is just dumb.

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  3. It’s a shame to lose a good parking lot. Frankly I’m surprised one can expand a business’ footprint yet take away parking.

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    1. It seems that way at a glance, but the reality of that parking area is that it was only full after hours when we have an abundant of parking available. During the day parking was only allowed for pet store shoppers which weren’t more than a few at a time and then the far right strip that was allowed for the salon parking only, which meant most of the parking lot wasn’t being used for years. It wasn’t a parking lot that was open to the public like it is today. I do believe the city is listening and making plans that will help the parking situation in DT ED. It will take years just like anything does in Edmonds, but I think we will see some rearranging of things that will open up parking in the future. In the meantime, its a nice walk to get to the Ed businesses.

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  4. It’s a shame to see that free parking go away. Especially for the cheapskates and skinflints who visit other business downtown that provide no parking, other than on street, but want Main Street Commons to pony up. Darn, it might even involve walking a block or two. Oh, the humanity.

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  5. I live downtown so don’t often drive and park in the business hub, but when I do, I always find a spot within a block or two of my destination, even on market Saturdays and other events. I think some folks haven’t learned the art of “finding that space.” Maybe somebody should teach a class at the community college. The free after-hours parking at the banks is great, but the signage is so obscure, few people know about it.

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  6. As a business owner near the new Commons area, I’m super excited about the improvements. Parking will have an impact, but I think the city can make some simple changes that can help. First I’d like to thank them for finally adding a Handicap parking spot, but we will need one right behind the new one after the new businesses open. Second, the city needs to mark street parking all along Dayton st like they did on Main. Mark lines for each car. I can’t tell you how many times I see cars parked in the middle of a 2 car spot or a car parked 6 feet from a yellow line. This would increase the number of spots and utilize the the parking capabilities to its full potential.

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  7. Substantially increasing Handicap parking spots, marking parking spaces better, and offering classes to help drivers be better at parking are positive actions. None are expensive. Come on Edmonds, you can do this!

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  8. I hope we will not forget that for a certain portion of us, happily walking a few blocks, and “good exercise” are painful if not impossible. I’d love to walk a few blocks to a store, but I can’t. So Edmonds shops loose a buyer and Amazon makes another delivery. Please don’t forget that a few more handicapped spots would be a huge help for some of us!

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  9. Come on now folks. You know Edmonds badly needs more places to meet up, eat too much and drink our favorite beverages. This parking thing is just an unnecessary luxury and expense and you all just need to stop complaining when someone wants to build another wonderful commercial enterprise for you to enjoy. Can’t we have a little appreciation around here?

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  10. We are truly blessed to live in a vibrant community where investors are willing and eager to create transformative projects like this one. When completed, this will be just another example of Edmonds leaving behind – permanently – the “deadmonds” city that I grew up in.

    On the flip side, I lived in Ohio for a couple of years in my mid-twenties (back in ‘09/’10). From that experience, I am truly grateful to live in a city that investors want to invest in, and where people want to move to and spend money in. Vibrant communities create problems, but those “problems” are a drop in the bucket compared to the problems that communities with decrepit infrastructure, declining population, and no capital deployment.

    This is truly a great project and can’t wait for it to get done.

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  11. Kevin, Your positive perspective is a welcome thing to read. You, of course are “eyes wide open” and it is encouraging to know that younger people’s opinions are being heard and count on development issues. The “eyes wide shut” curmudgeon crowd should be grateful that developers are very much invested in making Edmonds a better place. You have experienced the opposite and I appreciate your insight.

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  12. I love how people just assume their idea of “better” is the right one and anyone that doesn’t agree with them is wrong. Yes, I’m the “old curmudgeon” Linda is obviously referring to above. I’m also the guy who defended her right to call me out publicly on that and the guy who holds absolutely no animosity toward her for her views and accusations about me being a “bully” or whatever other silliness she is accusing me of. I probably am an “old curmudgeon.”

    The fact is I don’t blame Mike for wanting to profit on his valuable Edmonds property. He’d be a fool not to want to. At some point I also want to profit from my valuable Edmonds property. I totally understand that motivation.

    What I question is that Mike is somehow doing this for my (and all other Edmonds resident’s benefit) and wants me (us) to perceive it as such. The fact is, his Main Street Commons isn’t going to be of any great benefit to me at all. It’s going to push parking problems further up the hill toward where I live. I doubt I will be inclined to frequent the establishments he creates and I don’t think he is “saving” a valuable old Edmonds landmark building. It’s just an old building he is re purposing for his benefit and the benefit of the businesses he helps develop there. As long as he quits promoting it as something the town just really needs to have and admits it’s something he really wants to make money on, I’m great with it and wish him well in the endeavor.

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  13. Thanks, Linda.

    Yes – I am eyes wide open, and I believe it’s essential for people to keep perspective. It’s easy to get lost or angry with existing “problems” while failing to recognize that we have it pretty damn good here compared to the vast majority of smaller suburban cities in the country. I am encouraged that the city continues to evolve into a vibrant fun town with ample activities. It’s a city that is a great place to live, play and to run a business. It’s a town that my 1-year and 3-year-old sons will never call “boring” as I did growing up in the ‘90s and early ’00s. Whether this growth has happened because my generation is being heard, excellent foresight/planning of our leaders, or an offshoot of regional prosperity… I’m not sure but probably a combination of all three. However, I’ve been sensing a shift in the last couple years that is concerning. The anti-growth crowd seems to be getting louder, more angry, and less willing to be open-minded about growth and this mindset seems to be manifesting itself into our politics.

    The development at 6th and Main will bring-in one-time sales tax revenue from construction, then will translate into a permanent increase in property tax from for valuable real estate development and sales tax from the businesses that locate there. Finding solutions to problems like parking, rising property taxes, and others is a substantially better problem than solving problems created by long-term economic contraction. Instead complaining that any new development won’t work, I’d like to see the broader community embrace the “good” problems to have and work to find solutions. This isn’t rocket science; it only requires people to work together for solutions.

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    1. Kevin, I agree with what you are saying, and it is concerning, the anger and anti-growth sentiment will be handled by attrition. Just as other generations before us, the unknown is scary and we want things to stay the same. I understand this, but have learned that no one generation has a lock on what is good for the community. I appreciate that you, Matt, and others who represent the “young families”, are taking the time to comment and let your vision for Edmonds be known. I am especially inspired that you are not only raising you family here but also have a business in the city. I don’t know if you want to say what your business is, but I would like to know so that I can support it. I look forward to reading more of your comments.

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  14. Clinton, you do seem to be trolling Linda Mae, and it is looking like you are a bully. She did not mention your name and there were quite a few other commenters. You need to “check” yourself man.

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  15. Mr. Hernandez, Linda Mae has referred to me as almost a bully on this venue, and I went immediately to her defense in doing this. How is this “trolling” her?

    I disagree with her about her perception of me and others like me and how this particular business venture is somehow a “great benefit” and “progress” for all the people of Edmonds. I beg to differ with her and others that the over commercialization of Edmonds has been a great benefit to everyone in Edmonds and our over all quality of life here. I guess I’m speaking for all the people here that she does refer to as “the Old Curmudgeon Crowd”. If she views my statements as “trolling” her, I sincerely apologize because I do admire her for stating her views and asserting her right to free speech.

    Personally, I think you need to “check yourself man” and perhaps read the comments made here a little more carefully and give them a little more thought before you go on the attack. I have nothing against Linda or Mike and I respect their views which I have made perfectly clear. That said I think Linda should quit calling people she disagrees with names and I think Mike needs to acknowledge that this is about him making money and about exacerbating the parking issue downtown as well as, perhaps, being some great preservation of Edmond’s culture and value to the good of all. I just want a little more honest presentation of what this is all about. I do not question his right to do his project, whatever it’s over all affect on the town is or isn’t.

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    1. Clinton, You are fooling nobody but yourself bud. Nobody called you an “OLD Curmudgeon”, you added the word in there “old”, and there were other commenters in this thread, but you somehow think everything is about YOU. She said you were “almost a bully” in a completely different topic several weeks ago, and now you have it out for Linda and several of us see it, as two of us defended her against your last attack. I am surprised that this latest comment made it past the editor, as it appears that you actually are harassing her. If you go through your comments you call people names quite frequently; you referred to linda’s comment as “silly”. Why should Mike McMurray have to “acknowledge” wanting “making money” especially to you? Yes, you definitely have proven yourself a bully.

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  16. The previous businesses (Next to Nature) and Ombu offered parking for their customers. Now, Mr. McMurray wants to add a lot more customers and take away almost all of the parking. I rarely find a spot near the Edmonds business I’d like to visit. I often have to park 4-8 blocks away. I believe that the City should require Mr. McMurray to provide more parking.

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  17. When the Next to Nature pet store decided to leave early because it was to difficult to manage a store from their West Seattle flagship location. My family inherited there causal agreement with a local business that was leasing the majority of the parking lot at that time. I decided to forgo that agreement and allow the general public to use the parking lot as they wish in the interim, as I felt it would be a nice gesture to support the local downtown core businesses and community rather than keeping the parking spaces as private as they have been for the previous 15 years. The reality is my family is quite
    blessed to have had the good fortune to acquire the property with the help of local realtor Adam Cobb and Edmond’s Windermere as the property was destined to be sold off and re-developed in any event
    regardless of ownership change. The parking lot being 67% of the total land parcel is not likely to be left as is in any form in any scenario with property taxes rising about 60% just this year alone, in conjunction with the feasibility of economic return on capital
    investment on a structure that is 65 years old and in dire need of a lot of expensive upgrades to meet current codes and be a safe and desirable building for future tenants and guest.

    All developments have there negatives and know development is perfect, hopefully the community finds more positives than negatives with this
    project. It’s quite the opportunity that my family has been afforded and I plan on being a good steward, that includes leaving a larger portion of the property (+30%) as open space despite the city codes of
    only requiring 5% as open space with no setback requirements. My family and friends don’t want Edmond’s to follow the path of neighboring towns with larger buildings crowding the sidewalks and
    looking like every other place in every other town in America, this is Edmond’s, not Kirkland, Ballard, Shoreline, let’s keep it that way folks! I understand peoples frustration with parking, and I do wish It
    was in the economic realm of feasibility and reality to create more out of this plan. There will be 4 additional new public spaces created along 6th avenue afforded from this design, I will make a request to the city to make some of those designated handicap as well (not that I have a say ). I agree with comments posted here, Edmond’s needs additional Handicap parking spaces and this could be a real possibility. Hopefully C.W will change his mind and enjoy some of the many future offerings and who knows I hope he becomes a regular
    fixture at the future plaza someday (his post on the connector are still some of my favorites of all time, ha ha) . To my determent I love mid-century architecture, when Architecture seemed to have more
    soul and character to the cookie cutter pre-fab mass designs of today, I see 1954 buildings as pure goodness. Tina Drennan you have not been in favor of my project since the very beginning, I respect
    that. There would be know commercial development in Downtown Edmond’s if Businesses such as Mar-ket, Kelneros, Salt & Iron, Edmonds Theater,
    Sound Styles, Salish Brewery and many more required normalized parking counts, Edmond’s would essentially be Richmond beach primarily residential, there is some logic to the small BD1 zoning footprint, look at what its created folks in a condensed area over the years for our community. Many people live in Edmond’s because of the Downtown offerings and its appeal, my neighbors moved here from Chicago and chose to live in Edmond’s because of the Downtown appeal. Hope everyone makes it to the Oktoberfest this weekend, and for sure the Dog Parade.

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    1. Mr. McMurray, I am not against your project. I am against the one portion of this project that takes out 30 +\- parking spaces but adds more intended customers. Other businesses in Edmonds have to provide sufficient parking to their customer base. I don’t understand why businesses in the downtown area don’t have to meet the same requirements. I also don’t understand why the City allows condos to be built without any parking and why the City allows buildings to go corner to corner and fill the whole lot line up to the sidewalk but parking lots have to have planters and benches.

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  18. I shudder to think what could’ve happened at 6th & Main under a less thoughtful ownership. The entire property could’ve been leveled and replaced with a 2 or 3 story box, but instead we’re getting an interesting mix of old and new that will only add to the “character” of Edmonds that most of us cherish and wish to preserve.

    As to the parking issue, in a downtown area like the BD1 zone, we don’t want separate private parking spaces for each business. We want people to go from business to business without having to move their car each time. As I said above in an earlier comment, I think the downtown parking problem has been somewhat exaggerated. The city could begin by better managing its on-street parking ~ make sure there’s handicapped parking and a loading zone for each block. And tic marks on every block.

    And for the record, Mayor Earling appointed me to the Planning Board this spring, so I’m going to be involved in Edmonds planning issues for some years now. My intent is to be an engaged and thoughtful addition to the Board. When my time is up, I want to leave Edmonds (all of it, not just downtown) an even better place than it is today.

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  19. Mr. Hernandez, I’m not trying to fool anybody. A bully is a person who picks on someone who can’t or won’t fight back. That is not what I do. Linda has demonstrated she is very capable of of commenting and holding her own without your protection here. Same goes for Mike. I have plenty of respect for both of them and I certainly don’t think it’s all about me and what I want for Edmonds. That ship sailed long ago.

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  20. Our Community should be aware that the current codes are designed to function as a self-balancing mechanism to growth expansion with complimenting “Transportation impact fee’s” charged to new developments at the time of permit issuing. The core definition of the code is to offset traffic demands caused by these new developments with collecting funds to help fund additional “PUBLIC FACILITIES” to counter there traffic impacts to the collective function of our community. (Edmonds City Code Chapter 3.36)

    Thank you for your positive post Mr. Pence, I liked your comparison old and new. Congratulations on your appointment to the planning board, I encourage you to update your knowledge on Chapter 3.36 of the codes, its quite remarkable the fee’s that will be collected for “Traffic impact” over the course of the next few years with all this new developments taking place and planned in Edmonds. Hopefully the leadership directs these fee’s to traffic and parking solutions as the spirit of the code was intended, and not one time deferred maintenance and less traffic impact expenditures.

    If it makes you feel better Tina Drennan, I will be paying an estimated $25k in Fees to construct a new attraction in Downtown Edmonds, those fees are suppose to be direct to a Public Facility to help alleviate traffic impact. The Graphite Art Studio planned on 2nd and Main is paying over $200k I believe to this fund, as two new larger buildings than mine are planned (I love that project). The City in the next few years will collect a very large windfall of fee’s especially regarding the larger apartment complexes planned along HWY 99.

    If you dig up the first preliminary plans off the cities website for my project it will show a 3rd Building where the parking lot was planned to be situated. I decided to not build that building and add the parking lot among other things, even though its not required in BD1 and does not bring in more revenue to me personally. Hopefully that makes some statement to the community and answers C.W question about its all about making money. So in reality, I do agree with you Tina Drennan, I do believe I should add parking and I have. You are simply incorrect that other businesses are required to add parking, the many recent new businesses in Edmonds did not add parking as I mentioned in my previous post, along with the long time establish businesses as it relates to the special BD1 zone. We are on the earth a short period of time, lets take comfort that we are blessed to live in such a great community. Cheers! Mike

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  21. I appreciate Mike’s response here and I repeat that I totally respect him and his right to do what he sees fit with his property. This is a much better presentation of what he’s doing and why he’s doing it, than just making the assertion that it’s going to be a great thing for the town and we should all just get on board because it is such a benefit to all of us.

    There is a reality here that this venture will (hopefully for Mike’s sake) bring more people into our town and provide less spaces to park. That is just how it is from what I can see of the stated plan.

    There’s a reason that shopping malls had huge parking lots around their perimeters. Nobody would show up if there is no place to park. Of course, now nobody shows up at Malls because it’s much more convenient to buy on line.

    Lucky for me, I’m two blocks from the Commons so I can just walk if I choose to visit. Or, use my Medicare supplied “Rascal” when I get too feeble to walk to the joint for a beer.

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  22. Let’s see if I understand this right. The latest appointee to the planning commission tells us that we should appreciate something we really really want but don’t necessarily need (The Commons) as opposed to something we really really need (parking lot or building downtown) but don’t necessarily want. We want tons of people coming to our town for food, fun and the ambiance of Edmonds but we don’t want any expensive and unsightly parking facilities where they can somewhat conveniently park to enjoy our offerings. I guess there is logic here somewhere but I fail to see it. Why not just pay Mike a fair price (determined by him and his lawyers, not the planning commission) for his land and have a parking lot where it already exists. I know that’s never going to happen, because it makes way too much sense.

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    1. Mr. Wright, I’m not telling anyone what they should or should not appreciate. In my comments above, I am merely expressing *my* opinion about the Commons and downtown parking matters. You are free to express your opinions also, and you have done so; thank you for those.

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  23. Mr. Pence, you have been appointed to the planning commission by the mayor. Therefore your personal opinion will have much more influence and sway in what does or does not happen here than mine or anyone not on the commission. When you say “you shudder to think what would have happened ” you are emplying, if not saying, that we should all appreciate what Mr. McMurray has planned for our community and anything else would probably be a bad thing. I assume this will be your official commission stance as well as your personal one. The planning commission sends recommendations to the Council. Your opinions therefore will have more weight than mine or any other non commission citizen. Earling would not have appointed you, if he thought you were anything other than pro development in Edmonds. Edmonds politicians are not used to much push back. My impression is that the Connector issue has changed all that. I could be wrong. The election results will tell us a lot.

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    1. Mr. Wright, you have drawn incorrect inferences from my words, but I choose not to debate those here. As to the issue of property development in Edmonds, let me note that property owners have the right to develop or redevelop their property, as long as it’s in conformance with city zoning and building codes. It’s not correct to frame the discussion as pro-development vs. anti-development; we cannot stop development from happening.

      It’s the responsibility of City officials, including Planning Board members, to see that City codes lead to good projects. I can tell you with certainty that neither Mayor Earling nor any member of City Council has given me any instructions or suggestions on development matters. On the Planning Board, I am absolutely free to exercise my best judgment based on my knowledge and experience, and I intend to continue doing just that.

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  24. “On the Planning Board, I am absolutely free to exercise my best judgment based on my knowledge and experience, and I intend to continue doing just that.” And that’s the way it has been for the past 16 years that I am acquainted with – despite what Mr. Wright perceives.

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  25. You both talk about making judgements based on “your” experience. .What is your experience? I suspect a lot of it is real estate development. You don’t talk about getting the views of as many citizens as possible and how they will be impacted by what you recommend. I’m not opposed to development and I realize you can’t stop it. I am in favor of smart development, not cramming all the huge houses and small businesses you can in the downtown area. This is what we’ve had the last 16 years. Earling doesn’t have to tell you how to advise, he already knows how you will.

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    1. Development code proposals generally originate with city staff. Those proposals go to the planning board who holds public hearings. The planning boards recommendations that result from the public hearings go to the city council for approval, and the city council holds public hearings before making any decisions. The public has numerous opportunities to provide input.
      I don’t know anything about Mr. Pence, but I have never had anything to do with real estate development.

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  26. I certainly could have the wrong slant on all this, and maybe I’m misjudging your (Mr. Pence and Mr. Wambolt) preferences for development and why you have been appointed to the planning board. I actually hope I am wrong to a great extent.

    On the other hand, the fact that planning proposals originate with city staff is not very reassuring. From what I’ve observed in watching city council meetings, staff is directed to study various issues and then comes up with proposals that just happen to coincide with what certain individuals think is the way to proceed. For example, you end up with a study that refers to “suicides by train” as “pedestrian deaths” so as not to offend anyone. Never mind that this totally obfuscates the reasons for the problem we are looking at. Does this have to do with the staff answering for their jobs to the individual that can fire them if so inclined? Can’t prove it, but strongly suspect it.

    A house was recently built on Bell Street below me on a lot that had for years been deemed too small to subdivide. I don’t recall any public notice to me or my neighbors about why this was suddenly ok after years of it not being ok. I was never asked by any city employee or politician how I thought this might impact me or the appearance of my neighborhood. I suggest you drive down Bell Street hill and notice how it has become a canyon of giant houses on small lots with one in particular really looking like it was crammed in as an afterthought. In that process several parking spots and a garage on private property were obliterated.

    Mr. Pence says he thinks the downtown parking problem has been “greatly exaggerated.” Yet, all we hear from the downtown businesses is, that parking is a huge problem that needs to be solved. It’s one or the other, but it ain’t both. I may be dead wrong about Mr. Pence, but I think you can understand why I might be confused a little when you actually look at all the angles and actions recently in our town that lead to more and more growth without much critical thought about it’s impacts. We’ve had just go with the flow government here long enough.

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