By Cameron Rasmusson
Sandpoint City Council members approved changes to a parking agreement with Kaniksu Health Services Wednesday night, paving the way for the company’s proposed downtown relocation.
Ostensibly organized to revise a few deal-breaking terms for Kaniksu, the meeting also provided a forum for community members to express their support or opposition for the planned leasing of city-owned parking spaces to the business. Some owners of smaller businesses were concerned about the impact to their own parking, while others supported the new construction, jobs and business Kaniksu would bring to downtown Sandpoint.
Under the terms of the new agreement, Kaniksu Health Services will lease 60 parking spaces from the city. In addition, it will build its own covered parking area with 40 spaces that will be open to the public outside of business hours. According to developer Dick Villelli, the parking is key to guaranteeing financing for a potentially $7 million facility development in downtown Sandpoint.
Councilman Stephen Snedden introduced several tweaks to the agreement before it was approved. Under the amended terms, the number of Kaniksu Health Services’ leased spaces will be linked to the proposed facility’s square footage, meaning the business will not be entitled to all 60 spaces if they build a smaller facility. He also recommended some spaces be parceled to other parking areas and not centered exclusively on the city parking lot.