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Thread: Restaurant parking standards

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
    Feb 2004
    on my 15 minute break

    Restaurant parking standards

    What parking standard do y'all apply to restaurants in your code?

    1/75 s.f. Usable Floor Area sometimes feels like using a shoehorn to me. But it's strange, I worked in another community with an identical standard and there was typically surplus parking at dinner (even Saturday nights!)
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  2. #2
    Most municipalities that I work with operate under the regulation of X parking spaces per seats available or X parking spaces per tables/booths.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Plus
    Jun 2003
    My fair city's code -
    Restaurants and cafeterias - one parking space for each three customer seats.

  4. #4
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
    Apr 1996
    New Hampshire
    From our ordinance:

    Restaurant - 1 per 3 seats plus 1 per employee
    Restaurant, fast food - 1 per 4 seats plus 1 per employee
    "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
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    In my 76,000 pop. Chicago suburb, we require 1 space per 45 SF of seating area.

    Parking supply/demand can get tight if the architect doesn't make an effort to minimize the amount of area for the dining room(s).

    New development is pretty easy with this standard, but it often gets tricky with reuse of existing buildings that were built for a use(s) with a lower parking requirement.

    As a note - all restaurants (even carry-out) are special uses.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

  6. #6
    in my humble northern ct community (14,500 pop) we say at least one space per three seats or on space per 100 sq.ft. of gross floor area, whichever is greater, plus one space per employee per shift

  7. #7
    Jul 2009
    Lowell, Arkansas

    Parking at resturants

    Our city of 7,000 requires-

    Fast Food Resturants - 1 per 75 square feet of customer service/dining area; 1 per 200 square feet if no such service/dining area
    General Resturant - 1 per 150 square feet for first 2,500 square feet, plus 1 per 100 square feet over 2,500 square feet

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Emerald Coast
    10 spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area in our jurisdiction.
    Habitual Offender

  9. #9
    Jul 2006
    Our suburban town of 65,000 requires 1 parking space for every 3 seats. I cannot recommend using this standard as it results in tremendous over-parking and it is impossible to enforce after the building is built. We often have people lie on the site plan/floor plans and strangely, when the building is complete, there are as many as 10 extra tables on the floor. So then, what do you do?

    We often try to use the ULI shared parking formulas for evaluating parking and I would highly suggest looking into that. The restaurant categoreis are more closely aligned to what exists on the market today and there's all sorts of interesting factors you can put in (season, night/day, weekend/weekday). We're actually considering moving to adopt ULI period.

    And then I go read D. Shoup's book and go cry myself to sleep......

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
    Jun 2002
    Southeast US
    It seems that basing parking spaces on square footage of seating area is a better way than per seat, in that approved architectural drawings can easily be used to verify seating area, whereas furniture layouts are too easily manipulated.

    How does one know the number of employees per shift? How are shift changes handled? If you are relying on the applicant, is it trustworthy and verifiable?

    It would also seem better to apply a factor to the square footage required to calculate parking spaces.

    If the square footage allowed is 75 square feet, then maybe that should be reduced to 70 square feet to allow for employees - or does the 75 square feet already account for employees? A simple statement to say that "the number is based on a reasonable ratio of employees-to-customer seating" could be inserted into the ordinance to cover the situation. This concept could apply to all Uses.

    I think we can sometimes make interpretation and enforcement too hard on ourselves.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    I detest parking regs based on employees; it is so subject to change. There is no good system. A sandwich shop changes to a very popular bar and grill...by code, the parking requirements are the same. Cars are all over the place: in the right of way, on the required landscaping, in neighbors' lots, on the street not designed for parking. A model sustainable community development code being developed by the Lincoln Land Institute of Land Policy suggests eliminating all off street parking requirements: let the developer determine the need.

    Streck/southside, there is a quantifible number: that being maximum occupancy as determined by the building official and/or fire marshall. Number of seats is so subject to change. Go with capacity rather than seats.

    A specific problem in Greensburg, perhaps elsewhere in rural America, is new churches. Your congregation is no more than 50-75. You put in 150-200 seats. Out here a funeral is a home coming. Ecuminical gatherings invite the entire community. do I base parking requirements on the number of seats as per code, or on the average use?

    We had a fellow come in asking for a church permit. It would be combined with the parsonage in one building, resembling a single family home. When we found that the church had a total of 5 in the congregation, we "determined" that it was a single single family home that may occassionally have prayer services.

    What to do; what to do.
    Last edited by mike gurnee; 18 Jul 2009 at 2:59 PM. Reason: spellign

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
    Oct 2005
    How do you address the new phenomena of drive-up take out? Often they like to use three or four prime parking spaces at the side or near the front for this use. Should that be treated as extra needed parking or cannot take away from the already required parking? Anyone address this in their code?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Tide, this may appear as a cop out, but let the restaurant decide. If the parking situation doesn't work, business will slide. And think of the enforcement nightmare: they say they won't have pick-up, then they do later.

  14. #14
    May 2009
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Calgary's LUB (1P2007) has restaurants based in two categories (licensed to serve alcohol and not licensed).

    Unlicensed or licensed be they large, medium or small are all 2.85 stalls per 10.0 square metres of public space.

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