[Vision2020] Occupancy Limits (was: Lambert and Pall)

Kenneth Marcy kmmos1 at frontier.com
Fri Oct 6 08:26:21 PDT 2017

> Moscow Mayor Bill Lambert and his challenger, former City Councilor
> Linda Pall, agreed there are problems with parking and housing in
> downtown Moscow but disagreed on what to do about them Wednesday evening.
> They and five candidates for three four-year City Council positions
> and two candidates for a two-year position in the Nov. 7 election
> attended a League of Women Voters of Moscow candidates forum at the
> 1912 Center and answered questions from the audience. University of
> Idaho Law School professor Richard Seamon moderated.
> Pall, responding to a question about potential parking issues around
> the recently approved New Saint Andrews College music conservatory in
> the former CJ’s building on North Main Street, said, “CJ’s is a tough
> site to work with. Folks need a place to store their cars or we have
> to do something else.”
> What that something else is, Pall said she isn’t sure. She said in the
> future she would like the issue of parking addressed before a project
> has gone too far.
> Lambert compared the NSA conservatory with the lack of parking spaces
> around Gritman’s new Medical Office Building where the WWAMI program
> will serve 80 medical students. He said parking will continue to be a
> consistent problem for residents of Moscow because the reality is “we
> do have schools downtown.”

The phrase that is, so far, missing from this discussion is occupancy
limits.  Many elevators and buildings, including those used for
academic, commercial, and residential use, have occupancy limits based
on the safe capacities each is considered to be able to handle.  The
phrase "occupancy limits" needs to be reexamined and rethought with the
idea in mind to apply the new definition to organizations that regularly
use public space and facilities for one purpose or another.

Given the currently existing public infrastructure, what should be the
occupancy limit for New Saint Andrews parking? Or any other
organization's parking?  Occupancy limits and carrying capacity are two
different concepts.  The former is the result of public discussion and
policy decisions, while the latter reflects the physical reality of the

Yes, this message is missing detailed definitions and location limits. 
Those matters are part of the needed discussion.  Also needed are
determinations of public economic values and pricing for use permits for
base level use, and for usages beyond allowed base levels.  The idea of
a multiple hundreds of dollars base level charge per year, and a
multiple thousands of dollars excess usage charge should be neither
surprising nor unexpected.  Property taxes paid, or not, into the public
coffers that pay for infrastructure should be a factor in rate settings
for base and usage charges.  Organizations not paying property taxes
should be charged higher base and excess usage charge rates.  Concrete
and asphalt don't discriminate on the basis of religion, and neither
should public infrastructure charges.

New Saint Andrews is a business organization delivering services to
clients.  Neither the nature of the services nor the personal beliefs of
its management are relevant to their impact on usage of local physical
infrastructure, and therefore, on the costs, both fixed and variable,
and of short-term and long-term duration, to create and maintain that
infrastructure.  The liberality of the American constitution with
respect to personal beliefs may be loquaciously laudable, but it does
not refer to the shared use of limited physical resources in the public
common domain.

So, let's examine what public resources are available, and what should
be the highest and best use of them in the best interest of the
community at large.  Economic valuation and distribution based, at least
in part, thereon may be part of the discussion, but evasions of
responsibility and claims of special privilege based on freedom of
religion protected constitutionally are not.


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