County Board Direction Regarding Parking Reduction
(Adopted January 21, 2012)
1. The County Board has adopted parking standards for commercial development set forth in the Zoning Ordinance and other policies.
2. Unless amended or modified by the County Board in a particular site plan, these are the standards all commercial development must meet.
3. The County Board recognizes that, in appropriate circumstances, the standard may be modified through the site plan process to permit a reduction in the amount of parking that is normally required.
4. This should not be regarded as the norm, nor should it be expected in every project.
5. The circumstances that may warrant a reduction in parking will vary from site to site and may include a variety of factors such as the unusual nature or unique characteristics of the proposed development, as well as the achievement of extraordinary goals identified in County plans and policies including affordable housing, open space, community facilities, and historic preservation, where strict adherence to the parking standard may jeopardize or render infeasible the achievement of these other goals.
6. In every case, however, any reduction in the amount of required parking must address the impacts to the transportation network that result.
7. The County Board anticipates the incorporation of Transportation Demand Management measures as part of every site plan project because such measures are integral to the transit oriented development that characterizes all County development.
8. As essential elements of good urban development, the County Board also anticipates that infrastructure improvements will be included as part of every site plan project, particularly to streets and sidewalks, in the vicinity of site plan projects.
9. This is consistent with the Master Transportation Plan which recognizes the value of ensuring that minimum parking needs are met and excessive parking is not built, so as to not induce more driving and reduce community walkability.
10. Where parking requirements are reduced, and the impacts to the transportation network caused by the development are increased all the more, the County Board will look for added measures to mitigate these impacts consistent with existing Master Transportation Plan Policy 6.h.
11. These measures may include additional, enhanced Transportation Demand Management measures and improvements to streets surrounding the site plan project, but also contributions to the transit element of the transportation network which will bear much of the impacts resulting from reduced parking and enhanced Transportation Demand Management measures.
12. The appropriate mix of mitigation measures or the costs thereof cannot be specified in advance and must be a part of the site plan process where the unique circumstances of the proposed development can be analyzed; however, the County Board
believes that standards can be developed to provide predictability about how mitigation measures and their costs are determined. Further, the County Board recognizes that the cost to build parking is not a relevant consideration.
13. In light of this, the County Board directs the County Manager to examine the consequences of reducing parking below the required standard and the methodologies that can be used to fully assess and mitigate the impacts attributable to a reduction of
parking on a particular site plan project, and to report back to the Board by June 2012 on this effort.