North Bend, Wash., takes aim at local truck stop with 'parking tax'

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 5/2/2016

Two weeks after the city of North Bend, Wash., passed an ordinance that prohibits future development of truck parking spaces, including expansion of the lone truck stop in town, the city will propose another ordinance that directly affects the trucking community. On Tuesday, May 3, city officials will consider a commercial parking tax that will charge a 30 percent tax on the local truck stop.

The ordinance reads: “There is levied upon and shall be collected from every person engaged in a commercial parking business within the city a commercial parking tax in an amount equal to 30 percent of the gross proceeds.” It is not clear if the tax applies to gross proceeds of the entire truck stop business or just parking revenues. City officials could not be reached for comment.

In a move that has many citizens upset, the ordinance will go directly to a vote without a first reading or public input. The ordinance was put on a “consent agenda” for the May 3 city council meeting, which bypasses the standard procedures that were used for the parking ordinance.

Truck Town, a TravelCenters of America truck stop, will be the only business affected by the ordinance if passed.

Some believe this is an attack on the truck stop, including former North Bend mayor Chris Lodahl and Gaynel Gunderson, part-owner of the property the truck stop sits on.

Gunderson told Land Line Mayor Ken Hearing assured the owners of the property that the city would take care of the truck stop when it was annexed into the city approximately four years ago. According to Gunderson, Mayor Kenneth Hearing asked the owners in a private meeting if they could not renew the lease. The city was looking to install a business park. Mayor Hearing could not be reached for comment.

Shortly after Gunderson declined to end the lease, “No Parking” signs were installed near the truck stop. Two years ago, the city passed an interim ordinance preventing future truck parking development and expansions to the TravelCenters of America. That ordinance was made permanent on April 19.

Former Mayor Lodahl wrote an open letter to citizens of North Bend expressing his disapproval of the ordinances affecting the truck stop.

“The City of North Bend has imposed a full-scale attack on Truck Town for no other reason according to Mayor Hearing than the city can make more tax monies off an office park-style development,” Lodahl said.

The city council will address the parking tax at the Mount Si Senior Center at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 3.

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