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Thread: Parking requirements for coffee shops/drive-throughs

  1. #1
    Member
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    Parking requirements for coffee shops/drive-throughs

    Our community has a proposal for a coffee shop drive-through in a great location that we might lose due to our parking requirements. We treat them as restaurants, which require 15 spaces per 1,000 square feet. This seems really excessive for uses that tend to be mostly drive-through traffic. Does anybody have a less restrictive requirement? How are these treated elsewhere? Do you notice any problems? Suggestions please and thank you.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian UrbaneSprawler's avatar
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    15 per 1,000 as a minimum or maximum? In our community 15 per 1,000 is the maximum (all commercial uses are maximums not minimums) for fast food restaurants, with drive-through coffee shops falling under the fast food designation. There have been 3 of these drive-through coffee shops built since that code standard was implemented and we've heard no complaints of lack of parking.

  3. #3
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Provided it is strictly 'carry-out', we require 1space/300 sqft of gross building floor area. I would imagine that a coffee shop with only drive-thru service would be a small building - 300-400 sqft? That would require one space.

    Seems like a better standard to me than your 15/1000.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  4. #4
    Cyburbian Tobinn's avatar
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    Aug 2005
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    Clearwater, FL
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    Carry-out only

    I agree with Mendelman - we do the same thing in Clearwater - if it's carry out only (like many Dominos Pizza stores in our area, for example) we consider the use retail sales and service with a five spaces/1,000 GFA. Also like a convenience store (think 7-11). They serve coffee but are considered retail sales and service.
    At times like this, you have to ask yourself, "WWJDD?"
    (What Would Jimmy Durante Do?)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    Comer, GA
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    With drive-thru stacking spaces should be more important?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Jacksonville, FL
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    Burnham - was just wondering if your community also has a process to allow deviations or variances from the parking requirements? Perhaps the developer or property owner who wishes to build a coffee shop at the site can then apply for such a variance or deviation to permit fewer parking spaces than required by code. We do that here in Jacksonville - if you can demonstrate that parking can be satisfied with fewer spaces via a study or via alternative transportation methods, on-street parking, bus-stops, etc. (so parking onsite isn't fully necessary), parking can be reduced to fewer spaces. Not sure if you are in need of a "quick" way to fix the problem or if your community is considering updating its code, but often code updates take too long for developers to wait. Just a thought ...

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Seabrook, New Hampshire
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    Minimum parking requirements are the single most destructive zoning law, IMHO. Many professional planners are now recommending that towns and cities remove them--or have maximum parking, instead. How do they harm towns:

    1. Devalue land--especially commercial property
    2. Smaller lots cannot be put to highest and best use
    3. Make town centers much less walkable but pushing businesses further apart; minimum parking also tends to greatly increase traffic congestion
    4. Discriminates against smaller businesses that may not be able to weasel their way around these rules the way large chain stores do
    5. Storm water runnoff, chemicals, erosion, asphalt acts as a heat sink--hot water can run off of these huge lots, harming fish and wildlife
    6. Huge, five acre parking lots are not a good use of commercial land.
    7. Towns end up with less property tax revenue from their commercial centers--and fewer jobs. If a business finds that having too many employees will require the addition of spaces that he cannot put it, they will frequently cap the total number of employees at a low amount--resulting in a few lost jobs. Other businesses will just cut down on the number of seats or shrink the retail area to something just smaller than that which would require one parking spot too many.
    8. Worst of all, businesses no longer have any incentive to share parking lots or work together to solve mutual problems.
    9. Parking lots--especially large ones--cannot simply be landscaped; they do not look nice, and do not work well with any zone or sector.

    The worst effect is on town centers, where old buildings can no longer meet these minimum parking requirements because there just isn't any space for them. Developers find that it's too difficult to bring about the political change necessary to reduce or eliminate parking requirements. Although they may be grandfathered in to their old use, once you try to change some of the floors or buildings to highest and best use, you've got real problems.

    It's often easier for building owners to just walk away from these buildings and invest elsewhere. People wonder sometimes why these buildings don't get renovated--why their town center is becoming run down, but voters rarely make the connection.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Aug 2008
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    Jacksonville, FL
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    Not everyone hates minimum parking standards ...

    Maxx ... take into consideration, though, that many retail and commercial businesses actually want a guaranteed minimum of parking so that their customers have access (or maybe even "easy" access) to them. Banks, for example, always want far more parking than minimums state, and in my jurisdiction, frequently need deviations to exceed the newly adopted maximums.

    We also tend to see a lot of purchase agreements between our clients and the land sellers that state they will be able to construct for their exclusive use 4 or 5 spaces per 1,000 SF of GFA or GLA. A few town centers that are PUDs also adopted this standard within their PUD documents to avoid difficulty in site sales and permitting.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    For better or worse residential neighbors next to commercial areas also like them.

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