Saturday, December 1, 2007

November 30, 2007
Zoo won't appeal parking garage ruling


Woodland Park Zoo has decided not to appeal a city decision prohibiting construction of a controversial 700-car parking garage that has been the center of a dispute between zoo leaders and neighbors for years.

In October, Seattle Hearing Examiner Sue Tanner ruled that a parking garage isn't a "customary" use for city parks, and would not be legal at the zoo.

"We decided that in terms of resources, it isn't worth appealing it now," said spokesman Jim Bennett.

Activists opposed construction of the four-level garage as too big, too expensive and unnecessary. The construction cost of the garage was estimated at $18 million. Interest and other costs would have added to the total price over 20 years. The city agreed to pay 75 percent of the garage cost.

"We have a lot more talking to do internally," said Bennett.

For now, zoo officials will continue to look for ways to get the most out of surface parking, and encourage their employees to find other transportation to work, in order to open those parking spaces up to visitors.

The garage would have been built off Phinney Avenue North near North 56th Street.

Last spring, several City Council members said they had misgivings about the zoo garage, especially as citizens are being urged to reduce their use of cars. But they approved bond financing for the garage, saying they were bound by their contract with the zoo society.

No comments: