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Port of Poulsbo considers free parking in its lot
POULSBO — The Port of Poulsbo is considering a new plan for its underutilized downtown parking lot.
Instead of charging for parking, the port may offer free downtown parking to a select group of stakeholders: district residents, merchants and moorage tenants.
"We've been talking about it for a while," Commissioner Steve Swann said. "Parking for port district residents, parking for tenants, and parking for merchants and employees. To try to relieve some of the parking congestion on Jensen Way and Anderson Parkway. The underlying thinking is that the port's parking lot needs to be better utilized."
Swann broached idea at the port's March 6 meeting. Swann prepared a draft resolution for fellow commissioners to review. The draft has yet to be discussed or put through any process at the port.
Swann's draft resolution notes that the port's parking lot on Jensen Way has failed to generate revenue. In 2013, revenue collected at the lot "was minimal," the resolution states, and "charging fees for parking at this lot served as a deterrent to its use."
Swann said that the lot was a project of the previous port commission, and it needs to start showing a benefit. "The parking lot is vacant land and it's not generating any income and it's a pricy piece of property," he said. "I presume the goal is for it to have some investment return."
He added, "I go by there every week to see if anyone is there and it seems like it is vacant."
The resolution argues that marina tenants pay for parking through moorage agreements, and district residents — including business owners — pay for parking through their taxes. Combined with the opinion that the Anderson Parkway along Waterfront Park is partially occupied by moorage tenants, merchants and employees "to the detriment of economic development and tourism," the resolution proposes to give stakeholders free parking at the Jensen Way lot.
"My personal view is that port district residents need to benefit," Swann said. "There needs to be a benefit of being a port district resident and (parking) is something we can offer."
If approved as is, the Port of Poulsbo would be authorized to issue free-parking permits for the Jensen Way parking lot to moorage tenants, district residents, district merchants and their employees. After reviewing the draft, port commissioners will discuss the resolution at an upcoming meeting.