After years of restrictions, the City of Sumner soon might allow heavy commercial trucks to park in the busy 24th Street-State Route 167 interchange area.
The City Council tonight will consider an ordinance permitting private truck parking lots, as long as they’re part of larger sites holding restaurants, hotels or certain other types of retail.
Standalone truck stops would remain prohibited.
Thousands of trucks use the interchange daily to access the city’s north-end industrial area, home to distribution centers for companies such as REI and Costco. The Puyallup Valley is a major conduit for freight trucks coming from and going to the Port of Tacoma.
Mayor Dave Enslow said the proposal caps years of staff research, study and work with interchange landowners. He said it’s balanced and “meets the needs of the people in the zone.”
“It allows the landowners to do something they think will work well for them” and gives the city a way to cover increased costs that come as a result, he said.
He was referring to a proposed 15-percent tax on commercial parking revenue that’s also on Monday’s council agenda. The money would go to road repairs and similar expenses.
Axel Lindstrom, part-owner of 7 acres near the interchange, said standalone truck stops at one time were allowed in the area, and he thinks they still should be.
But the proposed parking changes are “a step in the right direction,” he said.
If the changes pass, property owners could open truck parking lots that encompass no more than 40 percent of a site. Landscaping and secure entrances would be required, and lot owners generally would have to charge a parking fee, ensuing they have money to provide on-site security.
The parking limit would be 12 hours; lot owners also could provide short-term parking for free.
Monday, truck parking isn’t allowed in the interchange zone, although one business – the Mustard Seed Market & Deli – provides it through a temporary arrangement. The business in late 2008 proposed an expansion that included dozens of truck parking stalls. The city determined it would amount to a truck stop, and a moratorium on truck parking in off-street lots soon followed.
Since, the city has worked to figure out what to do about truck parking in the area.
“They’ve got all these goods to deliver in our industrial park. They’re coming and going all the time,” yet there’s a lack of parking options, said Mike Reimer, who owns 10 acres near the interchange.
Monday, his land – like much of the 95 acres in the interchange zone – is vacant.
Big-box retail isn’t interested in the area because there aren’t enough homes to generate customers, landowners have said. But the area is ripe for businesses that cater to truck drivers, they said.
Like Lindstrom, Reimer said he’d prefer more flexibility in truck parking. But “I think what was reached is a good compromise,” he said.
“At least this allows us to move forward and potentially attract some interest in the area.”