Friday, September 08, 2006

Zoning Wars: Revenge of the Androids

On Tuesday night, the Moscow City Council voted 4-2 to show kindness to New Saint Andrews College by granting them a temporary conditional use permit, to use the downtown, predicated on four conditions:
1. NSA must maintain 160 feet of commercial street frontage.

2. NSA must provide 42 parking spaces in or out of the Central Business Zoning District within the next two years, though they do not have to use the parking lot.

3. NSA must cap its student body at 150 FTE students until they have met the parking requirement.

4. NSA must give City Council a “progress report” every six months.

As far as conditions go, NSA got off easy. In fact, their leadership should get down on their knees and thank God that City Council didn’t deny the CUP outright, exacting from the Kultmaster the letter of the law without mercy, which would have been much kinder than the various sanctions he’s meted out to various members of Kult and community over the last decade.

Nevertheless, City Council did put an edge on its kindness. The terms of the fourth condition, i.e., the “progress reports,” included a very clear message to NSA that they had better start getting along with their neighbors. Indeed, the point of the condition is to insure that NSA works with their neighbors as they endeavor to mitigate the parking problemn caused by their 166 students and 25 faculty..

The City Counci framed this condition after NSA spent the last 18 months hurling monkey clumps and other insults at anyone who squeaked a complaint about their loss of parking due to NSA’s illegal presence in the downtown. Of course, this has been the Kult’s standard operating procedure since 2003 when the leadership adopted A Serrated Edge as their public relations manual, which successfully helped them achieve their goal of giving offense to everyone — especially their neighbors.

For example, Louis Reed, who is the former owner of Bassilios Restaurant (NSA’s next-door neighbor for three years), testified that his sales plummeted 70% after NSA occupied downtown, essentially squeezing him out of business through lost parking. The Daily News reported,
But some neighboring business owners said the students who drive are causing the problem with parking. Louis Reed, owner of Basilios Italian Ristorante, located in the Moscow Hotel building and adjacent to the college, said he is being forced to shut his doors. “I’ve been here for six years and I’m going out of business because of the lack of parking. NSA claims it is a nonprofit institution. Well, I’m nonprofit too, but not by choice,” Reed said.

Reed said during peak restaurant hours during the week, at noon and at dinner time, there is no parking available for potential customers. “A retail parking space can generate nine customers in an eight-hour shift, whereas a parking space for the college only generates one customer for eight hours,” he said. (March 29, 2006)

And how did the Christ Church Cult respond to Louis Reed, who also happens to serve as deacon in a local Christian church? — with their usual insults and contempt. Gabe Rench, organizer of the Trinity Fest, posted these thoughts concerning his neighbor on the worldwide web:
In regards to the owner of Basilios: Microwave Spaghetti has never tasted good to me, and how many restaurants have moved to Moscow or grown since 2003 . . . hmmm . . . Patty’s, Rudy’s, Sangria, Wingers, Tucci’s . . . I understand competition is tough but blaming it on parking what a cop-out. I cant [sic] tell you how many restaurants that I have been to in big dowtowns were [sic] parking was way more difficult than in our little downtown . . . it is not about parking. But hey it is always good to find someone to blame when your business can’t make when there is ligit [sic] competition. . . . . . . Cheers! (Gabe Rench)

Factoid: Louis Reed owns Basilios Italian Ristorante in downtown Pullman, which has operated successfully for years, and the only difference between his Moscow & Pullman operations was parking supply: the City of Pullman protected Reed’s parking whereas NSA and the City of Moscow have not. And Reed’s lost parking supply translated into lost customers, forcing him to change his menu several times in the last three years as he scrambled to make a profit while serving a leaner customer base. More importantly, Reed was one of many downtown merchants who complained about lost revenue because of NSA, which gives the serrated saints even greater cause to thank God because if they had any Christian virtue they would pay restitution to their neighbors. But then A Serrated Edge gives license to abuse in the name of the gospel, much like “Corban” relieved the Pharisees of their obligation to the Fifth Commandment, which brings us back to City Council.

NSA has two years to be nice neighbors. They have two years to provide a limited number of parking spaces, and during that time they have to give “progress reports,” like a schoolyard bully on the verge of expulsion, updating the Council on how well they’re getting along with the other kids on the playground. Unfortunately, at the end of those two years, the Moscow City Council will learn that despite all of their good faith in granting the “classical Christian college” a CUP, Friendship Square will be unchanged if not worse. And hopefully by then, the new Council will understand that there is only one remedy to the problem created by NSA — “Cast out the scoffer, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease” (Prov. 22:10).