The City Council was correct to deny an appeal of a 15-unit apartment complex that could house more than 60 people, but councilors who raised concerns about parking were also right, and the council should take steps to address them going forward.
The project at the corner of Park Street and Siskiyou Boulevard consists of six buildings, a separate laundry facility and a 30-space parking lot. The apartment units are designed as quads, with four bedrooms sharing two bathrooms and a kitchen. The units could be rented to families or each bedroom to a separate individual.
Neighborhood complaints about the design of the project reflected concern about “dormitory-style” units, but the project meets the definition of a multi-family dwelling. The city has no legal grounds to reject a project that meets zoning and code requirements, which is why the council denied the appeal.
Whether the code is correctly written is another matter.
The city code requires two parking spaces for a three-bedroom or larger apartment, with no upper limit. Hence, 15 four-bedroom units equals 30 parking spaces, even though the project is designed to appeal to singles and couples sharing living space, and the reality is there will likely be far more than 30 cars when the complex is full.
The city has no choice but to live with this project as approved, but the council should revisit its parking requirements. It’s true that some young adults increasingly choose to live without a car, but that’s a trend, not current reality.