NSA college gets OK to expand

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Moscow board approves it 3-2, with conditions related to parking.

This is going to make the Intoleristas go hermatile. Again. Still.

From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News:

New Saint Andrews College got permission from the Moscow Board of Adjustment on a 3-2 vote to expand into the former Cadillac Jack’s building downtown after a public hearing in the packed council chambers at City Hall on Tuesday night.

The public hearing ran late into the evening.

NSAC applied for a conditional use permit to convert the former CJ’s building at 112 N. Main St. into an music conservatory with a maximum enrollment of 300 full-time equivalent students and 44 full-time equivalent faculty and staff. The facility would include five classrooms/studios, nine offices, a multi-purpose room, a student lounge and a music conservatory with seating for 680 occupants, according to the board packet. That’s nearly twice the current NSAC enrollment.

The board approved the conditional use permit with two conditions recommended by city staff. NSAC must provide 47 off-street parking spaces within roughly one-half of a mile of the property subject to the approval of the zoning administrator.

NSAC will also be allowed to phase in the off-street parking requirement by providing 50 percent of the required parking mitigation upon occupancy of the building and the remaining 50 percent when NSAC’s enrollment reaches 150 students, or five years from the date of the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy of the building, whichever comes first.

The property is within the Central Business Zoning District. Educational institutions are conditionally permitted within the district with consideration given to traffic, parking, safety, nuisance issues, cumulative impacts of and proximity to existing schools, commercial schools and educational institutions and the impact on the availability of retail and office space, especially at street level, according to the packet, which referenced the Moscow city code.

As with most downtown endeavors, speakers said parking was either an issue, a nonissue or an issue that should simply be dismissed.

The Central Business Zoning District does not provide a minimum requirement for off-street parking, said Ryan Cash, city planner and city liaison for the board.

“If we required parking for all businesses downtown, there would not be businesses downtown,” said one resident in favor of approving the CUP.

The same resident said there is already not enough parking downtown and NSAC should not be singled out to bear the burden of providing parking.

Many people in favor of the school’s expansion said there would be an increase in economic activity to downtown businesses, especially on the north side of downtown.

Those against the CUP cited parking concerns if the school expanded.

“It’s not unreasonable to expect a school to provide or some way account for parking,” one woman said.

Some residents said they would rather have the building be more of a community space that the public can enjoy rather than a private college. Other residents said they believed colleges belong outside the Central Business Zoning District.

Safety concerns were also cited as families attending music concerts would possibly need to use the crosswalk near the Corner Club on Washington Street, which was called a blind corner.

NSAC President Benjamin Merkle said 165 students are enrolled at the existing NSAC at 405 S. Main St.

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