February 10, 2012
The Planning Advisory Board will be holding a public hearing on February 13, 2012 at 3pm in city hall to consider amendments to the Langley Municipal Code relevant to the off-street parking requirements in the Central Business Zone and the range of uses allow for publicly zoned properties that are otherwise in the downtown.
Downtown Parking Requirements
The existing off-street parking requirements in the downtown are costly, unnecessary and serve as an impediment to the type of development that is in keeping with the historical development pattern in the downtown characterized by small scale commercial and mixed-use development with NO on-site parking. For new development property and business owners must either provide parking on-site, have an off-site parking agreement or pay the city $5,000 per required parking space. Communities and smart growth advocates around the country are recognizing the detrimental effects of high on-site parking requirements and are increasingly moving away from minimum parking requirements and instead looking to create incentives to support compact, walkable communities with a district wide approach to parking much like we have in Langley today.
Langley, like many small scale urban downtowns, has the perception of a parking problem that isn’t supported by the facts. In a parking study conducted in the summer of 2011, including an inventory of approximately 550 parking spaces (including public and private lots) within the downtown area, it was shown that the peak occupancy for parking demand was 67% (even during the Second Street Market) leaving approximately 180 parking spaces available even during peak time. However, an active parking management plan is needed to more efficiently use the existing parking in the downtown. To find a parking space during peak occupancy may require walking a block or two to your destination, but that doesn’t signify a parking problem.
Here are a few graph that highlight the results of the parking study. The Districts are:
District 1: Third Street and upper Anthes
District 2: Second Street
District 3: First Street
I worked for six years as the Planning Director in a small scale downtown with many similar qualities as in Langley where we had no on-site parking requirement because of the availability of public parking and shared parking agreements between businesses. My experience taught me that this type of parking system works well and maximizes the existing parking resources while minimizing the development of unnecessary new parking facilities that have negative environmental impacts.
Specifically, the proposal being considered by the PAB includes:
Eliminate the on-site parking requirement for the first 5,000 square feet per individual business/land use
Allow off-site joint parking agreements within 1/8 of a mile for all development projects
Allow for the Planning Official or Hearings Examiner to waive the on-site parking requirements
Eliminate the fee in lieu of parking requirement (currently $5000 per space)
Allow for further reductions in parking requirements based on a shared use analysis
For detailed information on the proposals from the city’s website click here