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Washington Voices

Court OKs expansion of St. Mark’s parking lot

Come spring, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church may be able to finalize its parking lot expansion.

The project has been held up in court since 2010, when the church tore down one single-family home, and moved another, to make room for a bigger parking lot on its property off 25th Avenue, southwest of the church.

On Jan. 10, the Washington State Court of Appeals issued a ruling supporting the hearing examiner’s initial decision to allow the church 14 more parking spots, increasing the number from 87 to 101.

“We consider this a win,” said Tim Hansen, president of St. Mark’s board.

The neighborhood group Families of Manito opposes the parking lot expansion, saying it may set a precedent for other parking lot expansions in the predominantly residential neighborhood, and that the city made a mistake when it allowed a city planner – as opposed to the planning director – to issue the original conditional use permit.

Superior Court sided with Families of Manito and overturned the hearing examiner’s decision.

The Court of Appeals overturned that ruling and sided with the church.

Families of Manito referred all questions to its attorney Rick Eichstaedt, with the Center for Justice.

Eichstaedt said he is not sure if Families of Manito will appeal the ruling.

“In this case, you can seek reconsideration and we obviously believe the court missed some important points,” Eichstaedt said. “For now, Families of Manito is looking at its options.”