Living Hope did not respond to The Columbian’s questions regarding the proposed rent increase.
In January, five months after the first food carts opened, Living Hope Church submitted its first land use permit for the carts, according to an email from the city of Vancouver. The permits require the applicant’s traffic engineer to conduct a traffic study to inform the city of new generated trips.
Ryan Lopossa, public works transportation division manager, wrote in an email to The Columbian that the study informed the city about the potential impact on local transportation.
In May, the city of Vancouver calculated that the food cart pod was projected to generate 333 new daily trips around Andresen Road. The traffic impact fee rate of $424 a trip, in addition to the 30 percent “business enhancement factor” and 15 percent “tax reduction factor,” yielded a bill of $84,009.24.
The land use permit for Living Hope was approved on May 17.
Living Hope Church was expected to pay the almost $85,000 fee, but in a meeting between Lead Pastor Doug Fraizer and Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, the city and the church agreed to recalculate, yielding a new fee of around $45,000.
“In this particular case, the church’s current concerns regarding the amount of applicable impact fees could have been avoided if they had reached out to the City’s Permit Center before the food cart pod was established to understand all requirements and fees, and taken steps to obtain approval,” wrote Chad Eiken, community development director for the city of Vancouver.
In 2011, local residents and church members originally bought the Living Hope property and building, which used to be a K-Mart. Madore Properties purchased Living Hope in 2016 for $4.7 million amid the church’s financial struggles.
Kristian “Krisey” Butler, owner of Krisey’s Kitchen, moved to Vancouver from New Orleans five years ago. Her food cart is a taste of classic Southern cuisine. Butler said she feels her concerns as a small business have been ignored by Living Hope and the city of Vancouver.
“This bill is for the church, not for the food carts,” said Butler. “I guess the decision is just to keep trying to push the money off on us or get out.”
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