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Thread: Parking Requirements

  1. #1
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Parking Requirements

    OK, here's the issue. I am writing a new parking ordinance...typical stuff. I have written a section where, if the petitioner can demonstrate to the PC, all the parking spaces do not need to be installed immediately.

    For example, if an entity is required by Code to have 80 parking stalls but can demonstrate a current need for only 60, the PC can allow installation of 60 spaces intitially. The development still must illustrate the 80 stalls, but can install the others at a later date.

    Here's the tricky part...how does the municipality require the installation of the other 20 stalls? Especially when their is opposition by the deveoper to do so?

    Anybody have any thoughts?
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    If the petitioner has demonstrated that there is no need for the additional stalls, why should he be required to budget land and plan for subsequent installation at all?

  3. #3
    Prudence, we just recently approved a multi-tenant office with exactly what you mention. Our code requires 59, they proposed 53. They show an additional 8 spaces as "future parking" and will install them if a tenant comes along who needs them. The PC approved it with the condition that the applicant agreed in writing to add the spaces if a parking problem emerges. They will not get final occupancy without the written agreement. We would also not issue final occupancy of a new tenant if we determined that the spaces are needed and they didn't want to install them.

    I would have some provision in the code for something like the requirement of a signed parking agreement where the owner agrees in writing to install the spaces if certain problems arise, such as overflow parking on a street or nearby business, traffic queuing up on the street becuse people are driving around the lot waiting for open spaces, etc.

    You could also do what we do which is to tie occupancy of new tenants, any building permits, sign permits, etc to the installation of new parking. If they don't install the parking, they can't really do anything with their property.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    If the petitioner has demonstrated that there is no need for the additional stalls, why should he be required to budget land and plan for subsequent installation at all?
    1. Buildings change and adapt over time in order to stay economically viable. The current building configuration and use may not require the same level of parking field as its future configuration and use.

    2. Any good busines wants to grow, and that often means adding head count. The issue Prudence has is, how do you allow for the greatest flexibility, least economic waste, least pollutant loading from run off, and still assure that when the time is right, you have regulatory power to require the additional impervious surface.

    3. Most codes in out state tie site plan reviews to construction permits, not to tenant occupancies. There is court precedent to discoutrage communities from attenting the latter.

    An example that he and I faced a few years back: A 22,000 sq ft multi-tenant retail building was 80% occupied by one tenant - an ATV / Snowmobile sales and service center. About 70% of that tenant's floor area was storage of large pallets of new ATVs etc. Another 10% was service area, and only 20% of it was retail. So basically you've got 22,000 square feet of floor area with a net of 7900 square feet max. retail use. You want to permit the developer to supply parking
    based on that level of retail, plus a nominal amount for service and what is essentially wholesale storage. Yet, if that tenant vacates, you could have a new tenant requiring a substantially greater anount of parking.

    I think the heart of the matter is - to use the buzzwords - sustainable development.

    Prudence - I like Repo's ideas, but they also have to run as a covenant binding upon future owners and successors. How about coupling that with a cash bond that can only be released upon provision of the code's desired level of parking?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    If the petitioner has demonstrated that there is no need for the additional stalls, why should he be required to budget land and plan for subsequent installation at all?
    Intially. But in the event of a change in user or the current use exceeds expectations...
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  6. #6
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Repo and Chet -

    I wish their were more mechanisms available to communities, like occupancy, to hold over developers. I want to avoid temporary occupancies as it just add another layer of enforcement and admin.

    Quote Originally posted by REPOMAN
    I would have some provision in the code for something like the requirement of a signed parking agreement where the owner agrees in writing to install the spaces if certain problems arise, such as overflow parking on a street or nearby business, traffic queuing up on the street becuse people are driving around the lot waiting for open spaces, etc.
    I had thought about a separate agreement, but was again faced with enforcement and tracking. It's a pain in the arse to do it...but you both may be right, that may be best. Any thoughts on performance standards for "problems" that may arise? Since it is a Code, it must be quantifiable.
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Well, I was thinking of retail, not so much office space. But even so, I'm not convinced that budgeting land for the highest possible parking use, or even always planning to ensure there is *always* enough parking, is sustainable development.

    If the buildings were closer together, it might not be unreasonable to expect a few people to park around the block and walk to the place.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    If the buildings were closer together, it might not be unreasonable to expect a few people to park around the block and walk to the place.
    Yeah, if you are in a city. In a lot of places there may not be on-street parking. In the situation I mentioned this property is in a suburban setting and is bounded by an interstate frontage road with no room for parking and a residential area where on-street parking is limited. Plus residents don't want employees/customers parking on their streets.

    What if you put a percentage in the code. I.E. if a building expands, employees are added, or the use changes and the required parking increases by 25%, the owner shall add the number of stalls necessary to bring the parking into compliance with the ordinance.
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  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    It is a situation we frequently encounter in multi-family housing development. As we are a college town, we tend to see demographics that have a high number of vehicles per household. Our ordinance is therefore written to require parking that is adequate for the college-aged crowd. If a senior apartment complex were built, we would not expect to have as much of a need for parking, so long as the use remained limited to seniors. We are used to hearing developers saying "I am building for the regular market, not students." Yeah, right. Even if they are not lying, the fact is, some students are likely to rent there.

    What we do is exactly the approach that Prudence is taking. We require the site plan to show development of all of the parking needed to meet the requirements of the ordinance, however, we will reduce the number of stalls that need to be immediately constructed to a number that may be more in line with the tenant market being pursued. If additional parking is needed in the fute, the location has been provided on site and the city can require it to be installed. The best way to handle this is through a developer's agreement and/or covenant. I wonder if it would be possible to write it in such a way that the city could enforce it by performing the work and attaching the cost to the property tax bill? I would be concerned about attempting to guarantee it through a bond unless there was a definite date by which the additional stalls would be required. An open-ended bond is an impossibility, and would be a pain to monitor.
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  10. #10
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Well, I was thinking of retail, not so much office space. But even so, I'm not convinced that budgeting land for the highest possible parking use, or even always planning to ensure there is *always* enough parking, is sustainable development.

    If the buildings were closer together, it might not be unreasonable to expect a few people to park around the block and walk to the place.
    cough.. context....


    that is all.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian prudence's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    What we do is exactly the approach that Prudence is taking. We require the site plan to show development of all of the parking needed to meet the requirements of the ordinance, however, we will reduce the number of stalls that need to be immediately constructed to a number that may be more in line with the tenant market being pursued. If additional parking is needed in the fute, the location has been provided on site and the city can require it to be installed. The best way to handle this is through a developer's agreement and/or covenant. I wonder if it would be possible to write it in such a way that the city could enforce it by performing the work and attaching the cost to the property tax bill? I would be concerned about attempting to guarantee it through a bond unless there was a definite date by which the additional stalls would be required. An open-ended bond is an impossibility, and would be a pain to monitor.
    Cardinal, thank you. I want some latitude built into the Code, but the Code still must remain defensible. And using the word "latitude" with "code" in the same sentence generates a legal nightmare.

    The City I am writing this for has expressed the desire to afford development some flexibility, but wants the ability to step in when necessary to demand the remaining improvements be completed. As you all are aware, there needs to be a trigger mechanism and it must be empirical in nature. There is not room for the subjective here...now, how do I make that happen?

    Is there a way without a separate agreement? And what are the trigger mechanisms?
    "Dear Prudence...won't you open up your eyes? "

  12. #12
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    How about if the use changes, the developer will have to demonstrate that the new use will not exceed the number of parking spots. You'd still need to define what a use is. For single-use buildings, that shouldn't be a problem, just require it when the tenant changes. For mixed use, maybe base it on a percentage thing?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    How about if the use changes, the developer will have to demonstrate that the new use will not exceed the number of parking spots. You'd still need to define what a use is. For single-use buildings, that shouldn't be a problem, just require it when the tenant changes. For mixed use, maybe base it on a percentage thing?
    Change of use is too broad a term. Is it a change of use to switch from an office supply store to a furniture store? They are both permitted by right in the commercial zoning district. What about the person who develops a "senior citizen" apartment complex with a twenty-year commitment under Sec. 42, but five years later buys out of the contract and switches to student housing? Again, the use does not change, though the target market for tenants does.

    The one time the issue came up, it was the landlord who decided the added parking was needed. He ended up renting to a large number of people moving to the community, or otherwise needing temporary space while their new house was being built. They were using the garage for storage. Other people did not want to park a vehicle in the driveway space provided in front of the garage door.

    What would we look for as a trigger if the landlord did not take the initiative? Hmmm... something we have not thought about... could be a problem. I suppose one way to handle it would be to simply say it is a decision left entirely to the discretion of the plan board.
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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Ok, how about this.

    The developer has to cite specific conditions that warrant the reduction in the number of parking spaces, like that it's elderly housing.

    So, put a clause in saying that if any of the conditions cited changes, he has to recertify the place as warranting an exception.

    So, for instance, if he argues that he doesen't need much parking because the place is a takeout-only restaurant, and then the place gets some tables, it's no longer true that it's takeout-only. So then he'd have to recertify. If he fails to do that, he's in violation.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Ok, how about this.

    The developer has to cite specific conditions that warrant the reduction in the number of parking spaces, like that it's elderly housing.

    So, put a clause in saying that if any of the conditions cited changes, he has to recertify the place as warranting an exception.

    So, for instance, if he argues that he doesen't need much parking because the place is a takeout-only restaurant, and then the place gets some tables, it's no longer true that it's takeout-only. So then he'd have to recertify. If he fails to do that, he's in violation.
    I think you are arguing to make the parking reduction something of a conditional use. This could be viewed as the initial use being conditional, with any change in use requiring a new conditional use permit that would trigger review of the parking. That might be difficult to do in a district where the are uses permitted by right.

    The approach discussed by several people above is more manageable. Show the full parking required, permit a lesser number of stalls to be constructed, have in place a mechanism to trigger their construction when needed, and have a means by which the city can compel it. The trigger is the tricky part. What are quantifiable measures that indicate a need for additional parking?
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  16. #16
         
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    Idea???

    Quote Originally posted by prudence
    OK, here's the issue. I am writing a new parking ordinance...typical stuff. I have written a section where, if the petitioner can demonstrate to the PC, all the parking spaces do not need to be installed immediately.

    For example, if an entity is required by Code to have 80 parking stalls but can demonstrate a current need for only 60, the PC can allow installation of 60 spaces intitially. The development still must illustrate the 80 stalls, but can install the others at a later date.

    Here's the tricky part...how does the municipality require the installation of the other 20 stalls? Especially when their is opposition by the deveoper to do so?

    Anybody have any thoughts?
    There is probably no way to accomplish this without the need of having someone to monitor the use. A possibility could be to create an administrative variation, which would allow the landbanking of parking spaces until needed, or a timeline could be placed on it. The onus would be placed on the developer to prove that the extra spaces are not needed, such as onsite traffic counts for similar uses and square-footage during peak usage times. The process could require an application, site plan (indicating the area for the landbanked spaces), the proof that the spaces are not needed and of course a fee. This still requires someone to monitor it, but gives the ability to require them to meet the ordinance requirement in the future if the additional spaces are warranted. If they refuse to install the addional spaces when warranted, treat it like any other zoning violation.

    or

    If they provide substantial proof that the spaces are not needed, don't make them install them at all. It will only hurt the tenant businesses if they don't have parking for their perspective customers.

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