Cannon Beach - Midtown business owners will not be required to have as much parking space under a plan eyed by Cannon Beach City Council Tuesday.

City Planner Rainmar Bartl said city staff would write the ordinance for further review of the council. This move was approved 4-1, with Councilor George Vetter opposing.

"This proposal is going to reduce parking spaces," Mayor Dave Rouse said.

Restaurants in the Cannon Beach midtown area currently must have one parking space per 100 square feet. Other businesses must have 1.5 spaces per 400 square feet.

The new ordinance would allow 1.5 spaces per 400 square feet in most cases, and one space per 400 square feet for new non-restaurant buildings. Bartl said standards are stricter for restaurants because people stay there longer.

The proposal is identical to the number required for downtown businesses. Several councilors supported making the rules the same, but Vetter said it wasn't necessary for midtown Cannon Beach to copy the downtown.

However, Councilor Tevis Dooley Jr. said allowing midtown businesses to expand by relaxing parking rules would take some of the pressure off downtown.

"Unless businesses go vertical there, it's as dense as it's going to get," he said.

Jay Raskin, a local architect, said fewer parking spaces would mean fewer cars exiting and entering the street. "We are trying to make our town more pedestrian-friendly," he said. "I've never had any trouble finding a parking spot even in the summer."

Bartl said the planning commission did not support the proposal, but said fewer parking spaces would allow businesses to expand or create more decorations on their property.

"What's the tradeoff between having less parking and having more of the amenities the city wants?" he asked, rhetorically.

He said drivers will find parking spaces somewhere, possibly on side streets, and inadequate parking gets people out of their cars - once they find a parking spot. Like Raskin, he said he favors more pedestrians and fewer drivers.

"If these folks have to park somewhere else, they become pedestrians," he said.

A similar rule for restaurants in the Tolovana Park district of Cannon Beach failed, but Tolovana Park non-restaurant businesses are included in the proposed ordinance.

The council also discussed signing a letter of intent to purchase and sell the RV Resort. Rouse and Councilor Betsy Ayres voted against the measure, saying the resort would probably not remain an recreational vehicle park if sold. Despite that, the measure passed 3-2.

Paul Knock said the RV park was irreplaceable and he said Carmen Swigart should have abstained from the vote because she owns a competing business.

Swigart said she believed the park would remain an RV park, and Rouse said the council did not believe Swigart had a conflict of interest.

Swigart is one of the owners of Sea Ranch RV Park and Stables.

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