Discussions on parking in downtown John Day continued during the John Day City Council meeting on Oct. 8.
The council talked about how to better indicate where parking is currently available, if there is a need for more parking spaces and how to improve the amenities of the parking spots.
“Probably right now where we stand, we have capacity,” said Councilor Shannon Adair about parking. “It’s really about letting people know where the parking is. We are looking at some growth, and the tourism that is coming in is bringing a lot more people. I think it’s beneficial to look at additional parking, and I think we need to consider how much more parking do we need.”
Adair attended the 2019 Oregon Main Street Conference in Tillamook and came back with ideas for the council to consider. She learned to ask whether the city needed more parking spots to accommodate for two months out of the year. She then brought up the importance of walking through downtown.
“You want people to walk around town and to be able to have a walking experience and to be able to see the downtown places,” Adair said. “It’s not the goal to have parking immediately for your store. It’s about working together as a downtown association to create an experience and environment for people to enjoy.”
City Manager Nick Green talked about potential lots available for parking. The Chevrolet parking lot was mentioned first as potential property to buy at $60,000 for the acquisition cost. A parking lot there could allow an area for public restrooms, which John Day does not have.
On the east side of John Day, next to city hall, there is a huge city-owned lot that is poorly configured and can provide signage and a possible resting spot, according to Green.
The lot behind Dreamers Lodge was the last piece of property discussed. While not as visible for drivers when compared to the other options, the lot can provide parking for business owners and employees. This would free up spaces behind the businesses on main street.
Green said, if they were to acquire the two lots, then there will be an intent to develop the areas.
The council discussed the possibility of forming a local improvement district, using city funds and grant funds as possible funding options.
Adair said they need to get the merchants involved and share with them the parking plans.
No decisions were made, and the city council decided to wait for a notional development plan that will look into the costs of each of these sites and how this could be funded, which is expected to be on the agenda for the next city council meeting.
In other city news:
• The city hired Daisy Goebel, a recent graduate from the University of Oregon, as the associate city planner. Some of her tasks include assisting with code enforcement, reviewing site design, property line adjustments and helping with some long-range planning such as the five-year natural hazard mitigation plan.
• The council approved a new logo for the city of John Day, which is part of a branding project for the city and can be modified if needed.
• During a work session with the city council and planning commission, a draft of proposed changes in the City of John Day Development Code focused on temporary housing using recreational vehicles.
Proposed changes include prohibiting RV use for residential purposes outside of an approved RV park. There would be some exceptions, such as dwelling in an RV while constructing a house or while caring for a relative or other special circumstances.
There would be a maximum time limit of 18 months for dwelling in an RV during the construction of a house. RV owners caring for sick family members would have to renew their permits yearly.