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Thread: Gas station/convenience store parking

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Gas station/convenience store parking

    I may have seen a similar thread in the past but I can't find it. I have a builder/developer that always stretches the intent of the code. This time, he's proposing providing the minimum number of parking spaces by 1) counting the stacking spaces for the drive-up window as parking and, 2) counting the spaces at the gas pump islands as parking spaces towards his minimum number of spaces. #1 is easy - absolutely not! How would you handle #2? Tell him "absolutely not!"? Give him some parking credit? Let him have all 10 gas pump spaces as parking? Our code is actually silent but it just doesn't seem appropriate.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plan 9's avatar
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    There might be some case for giving some credit for gas pump spots...if you require parking based on the number of service points (pumps).

    Let him request an interpretation from your planning commission or equivalent, then it takes it out of your hands/worry. If they say no, then you have a clear policy in the future (and eventual zoning code amendment next time you update parking), if they say yes, then make sure you find out how much credit he is allowed. He could never count all the spaces cuz one of them would have to be handicapped accessible and you can't have the handicapped space unloading area in a travel lane
    "Future events such as these will affect you in the future."

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Thank you, Plan 9, for lending me the confidence to give him some credit for parking. I am curious though. Does anyone have code that even indirectly addresses the use of pump station islands as parking? I'm not inclined to amend code for a circumstance that probably won't occur for another 5-10 years. I could be dead then.

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    We allow for the spaces at the fueling islands to be counted as part of the required spaces.

    We DO NOT allow for stacking spaces to count toward required parking.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  5. #5
    Member
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    I have a hard time seeing why it would be a good idea to count spaces at the pumps as parking spaces. Presumably, your regs are requiring x number of parking spaces per 1000 sf for a reason and that you are calculating parking on the basis of the size of the convenience store; do spaces at the pumps really substitute, then? In my experience, no, they don't. For instance, I rarely visit a convenience store when I fill up with gas (I use the little stick-the-card-in thingy) and I rarely fill up when I'm visiting a convenience store. I see the same behavior out of a significant number of fellow shoppers. There's some overlap, but it is hardly obvious to me that, let's say, 10 spaces at the pumps will substitute for 10 parking spots for the store.

    Here's how I would handle it, I think: Okay, the applicant can count those, but then they must meet our parking space requirements for dimensions, lining, etc., including one as a dedicated handicap space. They must also be used for customers who do not buy gas but visit the convenience store, and they must be clearly designated that way.

    Alternatively, the applicant can provide staff with a study demonstrating that in similar businesses x% of customers that shop in the convenience store also purchase gas and leave their car parked at the pump when they do that. Then maybe we can reduce the parking requirement by x% from those required for convenience stores that do not sell gas.

    Otherwise, we're stuck with cars backing up onto the road because everybody's waiting for the one spot available for customers for a 5000 sf convenience store.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    How it went

    Thanks for your comments, Bulldawg. You are in the majority of the regional opinion. I, however, took a compromise tact. Our code requires 1 space/150 sq. ft. of retail GFA. (I think kindaí steep) I didnít want to see more asphalt than was absolutely necessary and reasoned that since convenience stores have a pretty quick turnaround of customers, allowing for 5 of the pump spaces to be counted as parking would be ok. Turns out that the applicant was asking for the full ten pump spaces but didnít actually expect to get them. (Thatís probably never happened you any of you) I also got more landscaping out of it because I at least partially caved. None of the stacking spaces are counted. Everyoneís happy.

  7. #7
    Member
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    1/150 sf? Ouch. I withdraw my objection to counting the pump spaces. Is there some reason you require so much? Would a 100,000 sf shopping center really need nearly 700 spaces?

    BTW, I think you presented a good solution in the situation.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Yeah, it worked out pretty well. As for why so much required parking? I can't really say since it pre-dates my employment here. We are about to complete a wholesale LUR change though that, in and amongst all else, bumps the requirement to 1/200 sf GLA. The proposed code also allows for shared parking, which could have been used in this particular instance. We are even considering going to a Net Usable Area formula, at least for retail.

    BTW, this wholesale code change has been done completely in-house - very little outside consultation. It's taken several years and the decision-makers appear to be quite impressed. I am too. All of it done by one very detailed and anal staff planner who is retiring as soon as it is adopted. Maybe sooner.

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