The Everett Herald put out a story yesterday detailing the City’s evolving plans to make the Everett Station area more palatable for development and future growth. In addition to luring private TOD investment, part of the City’s wishlist also calls for the construction of a 500-space parking garage, a massive increase over current capacity. On a higher policy level, there’s actually lot to like about Everett’s plans, which amount to a needed step forward toward assuming greater municipal control of station area planning.
From The Herald:
Separate from the parking study, city planners are exploring possible ways to encourage multifamily housing and shops near Everett Station. They invited neighboring property owners and others to an informational meeting Wednesday. The current thinking is to rezone the 10-acre Everett Station site to allow the multifamily housing. As part of the proposal, height limits would rise to 80 feet, from 65 feet now.
While it doesn’t appear that Everett is pursuing an extensive master planning process, revisions to the City’s zoning code may be warranted, given existing land use restrictions. Currently, the station area is zoned as C-2ES (.pdf)– Heavy Commercial/Light Industrial– and actually prohibits multi-family housing uses, let alone TOD. There are a few pleasant surprises in the zoning code, however, like the inclusion of pedestrian-oriented design guidelines and planning principles.
The other piece to ongoing station area planning efforts is the possible addition of a parking garage, which might come with a price tag of $15 to $18 million, by the city’s preliminary numbers. With a minimum of 500 additional spaces, the cost estimates amount to as much as $36,000 per stall or more, a hefty public investment given the fact that parking demand at Everett Station is still currently well within available capacity.
While the land use and parking components are separate planning efforts, any public money spent on Everett’s dime can easily siphon funds away from other critical infrastructure projects in the city. Instead of building the garage on its own, I’d like to see the City open up opportunities for private actors to determine best uses within the station area, which could include private pay parking, if need be.