Ferndale businesses oppose new development over parking debate

Parking is the issue, and these business owners say getting rid of it could destroy them.
Parking is the issue, and these business owners say getting rid of it could destroy them.

Although a plan to bring new residential and retail space to Ferndale will be beneficiary to local businesses throughout the city, store owners aren't big fans. In fact, they think the new plan will drive customers away.


Ferndale is known for its agonizing parking, and that's the main concern for these local business owners. We all know what it's like to have to hunt down a parking spot and then dig around for some change to feed the meter.  So if this hassle isn't enough for people to avoid the city of Ferndale, then maybe some orange barrels, narrowed roads and closed parking lots will.

You would think the idea of a 360 project in this flourishing city would be a dream come true, but for some business owners, this turn-around is nothing but a total nightmare.

"Instead of adding parking, they'll be taking away parking for up to two years," said Linda Marchione, owner of Shine On Yoga in Ferndale. "This would really not protect the small business, which really makes up the heart and soul of the city. It would single-handedly destroy most of us."

According to Chris Hughes of the Ferndale DDA, the proposed construction of three buildings that will include retail, residential, office, parking, and two city-owned lots are currently in its infancy stages.

"We're not even a third of the way through a one-year vetting process," said Hughes. "The city wanted to do it this way, because they wanted to hear from businesses and know what their concerns were going to be directly."

One suggestion is to purchase and build a parking structure on the Save-A-Lot location, but it's privately owned, and that comes with a $2 million price tag.

So Hughes weighs some other options: "Do we do a shuttle? Do we have valet? Do we tear down something and make a temporary lot while we build something different?"

Regardless the temporary parking arrangement, the way the proposal stands now, two major parking lots would essentially disappear and be considered a move that's crippling to businesses. With lots more progress to be made on this plan, possible solutions are still in the works as public meetings continue this week where residents will be able to voice their opinions and share their ideas.