Limited parking drives Mount Rainier border battle


Residents who live in the 3200 block of Upshur Street in Mount Rainier have circulated a petition to start permitted parking on their block. (Timothy Sandoval/The Gazette)
April 24, 2013

Mount Rainier residents have a message for Brentwood drivers looking for a place to park: Don’t cross the city border.

Those living on the edge of Mount Rainier said neighboring Brentwood drivers are taking up parking spaces in their neighborhoods, and they are asking city officials to require parking permits to end the problem.

“This is the issue: I am a homeowner in Mount Rainier,” said Lynne Zaris, who has no driveway at her home and noted she sometimes has to park blocks away if the street is full. “I pay taxes here. I know that the street is a public right of way, but as a person who has invested money, I want my rights protected.”

On 34th Street — which runs along the border between the municipalities — parking is largely prohibited. Zaris lives in the 3200 block of Upshur Street, which intersects with 34th Street and where parking is allowed on one side of the block.

Zaris said she has gotten six of the 10 homeowners on her street to sign a petition to implement a permit system that would allow only Upshur Street property owners to park on the block.

Sara Lilly, who lives on the same block as Zaris, said she signed the petition.

“Having parking permits would allow those who live in Mount Rainier the same standard of living as people in other parts of the county,” she said, noting that other municipalities have implemented permit systems in certain areas.

Jamal Cave, 25, who lives in Mount Rainier but not on Upshur Street, said he often visits his girlfriend, who lives on 34th Street in Brentwood, and ends up having to park on Upshur Street because of limited space elsewhere.

“They have been getting upset ever since I have been coming around,” Cave said of Upshur Street residents, who he believes left a profanity-laced note on his car telling him not to park on the street.

Council member Brent Bolin (Ward 2), who is studying the parking issue for the council, said members are considering a system where residents from a particular block would need to get signatures from 60 percent of homeowners to trigger a hearing to discuss adding residential parking permits. But he said there is not much detail in the city code as to how the permits would work.

“One of the suggestions was one permit per driver, per car,” Bolin said. “. . . The problem is some people have an excessive number of cars, which I think we don’t want to encourage, but we also want to reasonable . . . because you have situations where multiple adults are living in one house, so you have to sort of accommodate that, too.”

Bolin said he plans to write an ordinance concerning how a parking permit system would work to be introduced at the City Council meeting May 7.

Brentwood Council member Nina Young said she feels Brentwood residents living on 34th Street are at a disadvantage, considering there is no parking allowed on a large part of the street. She said she hopes Brentwood residents can participate in any parking system that is implemented by Mount Rainier.

“It is really a situation where both councils need to be working together to work in the best interest of residents in both towns,” she said.

Bolin said the council would consider having a system where Brentwood residents could participate in buying permits but that the council would still need to consider what that would mean for Mount Rainier residents.

Zaris said City Council members should not consider the needs of Brentwood.

“Stand up for the property owners of Mount Rainier,” Zaris said. “Say: ‘This is necessary for us, we understand it may be a hardship. We hope you can figure it out.’”

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