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Thread: Exempt offstreet parking requirements for downtown business district

  1. #1
    Apr 2005
    Section 14-12-7, 3rd PM

    Exempt offstreet parking requirements for downtown business district

    Is this a common practice? Thanks

    er....that should say exempt....maybe a mod can change

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
    Nov 2002
    It's fairly common from what I've seen. The small city I used to work for had no parking requirement for commercial uses in the downtown business district. Since their main problem was attracting businesses downtown, the need for reinvestment was greater than the need to provide on-site parking (which would have been impossible to provide).

    Another town I'm familiar with first prepared a parking study of a small downtown area, which concluded that there was adequate on-street and public parking, and that fulfilling the requirements of the parking regulations was impossible for existing buildings. Then they created an overlay zoning district in which existing commercial buildings don't have to provide on-site parking. This was also an area where reinvestment was the major issue.

    To me it's the "you get what you zone for" principle - a community has to ask itself "do we really want to knock down every other building on Main street to provide on-site parking?"

  3. #3
    I agree with Seabishop. We have pretty much waived most off-street parking requirements in our CBD to encourage commercial redevelopment and discourage the bulldozing of historic buildings for surface parking lots and destruction of street walls.

    Quote Originally posted by savemattoon View post
    er....that should say exempt....maybe a mod can change
    Moderator note:

  4. #4
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
    Aug 2005
    in a meeting
    I'm about to do it here - I had never seen parking requirements downtown - this is my 3rd attempt in 7 years to get rid of this requirement and I htink it's going to finally work (yeah)

    how can you have a downtown if each lot has its own parking lot? that creates suburban vehicle-friendly strip development, not pedestrian friendly downtown! I do think towns can and should forge relationships to create parking lots in a financial partnership but to me, public parking lots in the downtown is the most efficient use of town funds to support downtown economic development.

    I am not, however, offering exempting hotels and medical uses for providing on-site, shared, or off-site parking...

  5. #5
    Jul 2006
    Ditto what the other have said. I'll add that there's a lot of research out there, some of it from the National Main Street Center, that shows that parking in a downtown is the aboslute WORST use you can have. It doesn't generate income for the community, it's impervious surface, it's just a total waste.

    My community does not waive parking requirements automatically through a zoning ordinance, but will provide variances (up to 100%) for any project that comes in and needs parking variances. I don't really care for this practice, but it does give the Village Board the opportunitiy to further review the project and make sure that they've met other site planning issues. Our downtown also has a good plan in place that provides for all the parking we'll ever need (in off-street decks, on street parking, and the provision of public parking lots behind buildings). Also allows us to charge an in-lieu fee for public parking if we decide we need to do so (i.e., we'll waive your 85 space parking need if you contribute 85x$2500 to our parking infrastructure fund).

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Aug 2001
    South Milwaukee
    Ditto what the others said. I used to work for one community that had a vibrant Main Street. The City, in cooperation with a Business Improvement District (BID), purchased the "back sides" of both sides of the street, and developed seamless - and free - off street parking "behind" Main Street, over a 2 block stretch. The BID even purchased a building to convert it into an indoor promenade that connected the parking to the Main Street side.

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