Downtown parking woes far from resolved
In July 2017 the Moscow Board of Adjustment approved CUP 2017-0007 allowing New Saint. Andrews College to open a Music Conservatory at 112 N. Main St., for 300 students and 45 faculty with the condition the school provide 47 off-street parking places, one-half of which were necessary for them to receive a certificate of occupancy.
In January, NSA applied to have their parking lot at 421 S. Jackson St., approved for educational purposes to provide 25 parking spots for the conservatory students. But wait, the lot will not be reserved for these students; it will be open to all NSA students and employees, including 225 from the NSA school located next to Friendship Square. How could a situation where N. Main students are completing for parking places with S. Main students satisfy the conditions set forth by the BOA in 2017?
Ben Merkle, president of NSA, told the BOA that it would be too difficult to reserve the lot for conservatory students because they would have to move their cars to the lot at 505 S. Jackson if they took a class at the NSA building at Friendship Square. Not true. If the lot is reserved for conservatory students they could park there even if they leave to have lunch, go to the library, or take a class elsewhere. They also could not move their cars to the 505 S. Jackson lot because it is reserved for Friendship Square students only.
The city planner told the BOA 421S. Jackson and the 505 S. Jackson are “pretty much the same parking lot anyway for the two locations.” Not accurate. After discussion and testimony, the BOA approved the application of NSA that will allow them to receive a Certificate of Occupancy and open the music conservatory at 112 N. Main. Twenty-five parking places is a drop in the bucket toward satisfying the needs of 225 students and faculty that will now be allowed. However, we should be able to rely on our Board of Adjustment and city staff to faithfully enforce the permits they approve, thus protecting the interests of our whole community. We deserve better.