Concerns about the loss of already limited parking downtown derailed an ordinance intended to address Seaside’s lack of affordable housing.

The ordinance would have reduced parking requirements for apartments citywide, and lifted limits for residential units over commercial downtown businesses.

In public comment at a City Council meeting last week, Seaside Brewing Co. owner Jimmy Griffin said the ordinance provided no mechanism to ensure downtown residential buildings would be affordable or workforce housing.

Parking could be further strained, he said.

“What’s going to happen is people who normally park on the streets to go to our businesses are going to be shoved into the parking lots, because the streets are going to be full of residents and their cars,” Griffin said. “It’s going to create pressure driving people into these other parking lots that are already overwhelmed.”

There is already a parking shortage at his building at Broadway and U.S. Highway 101, he said.

“My only option is to tow people, which creates massive amounts of bad blood,” Griffin said. “This is just going to exacerbate the problem that already exists. I have a parking problem every day. I don’t want to see it get worse.”

City Councilor Tita Montero shared Griffin’s concerns.

“Once developers are allowed to develop studio or one-bedroom apartments with little or no parking space requirements, we will never be able to change requirements when we realize the unintended consequences,” Montero said.

The city’s current ordinance requires two parking spaces per dwelling unit for all types of apartments, multifamily dwellings and conventional detached dwellings.

Along with eliminating the parking required for small residential dwellings downtown, the new ordinance would have brought parking requirements in Seaside in line with other Clatsop County communities, reducing requirements to one parking space for a studio apartment, 1.25 spaces for a one-bedroom and 1.5 parking spaces for a two-bedroom apartment.

The ordinance was intended to reduce regulatory hurdles associated with developing workforce rental housing and promote more efficient use of land within the city.

While city councilors rejected sections in the ordinance related to residential-over-commercial downtown housing, they hope to keep parts of the ordinance to reduce off-street parking requirements for apartments throughout the city.

“I think staff can bring you back an ordinance that would just take care of that part,” City Planner Kevin Cupples said. “You’re going to be starting over at square one with the first reading, and bring the other item to the Planning Commission with joint review of counsel.”

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