Ok. Let’s take the Zoning Ordinance Update Task Force’s recommendations one-by-one. Hopefully we’ll get through them all by the time of the city commission meeting next week!
First up, a long-time favorite topic among DMers – parking! Decatur’s parking ordinance has long been criticized as outdated and many simply would point to the numerous parking exemptions the Zoning Board of Appeals has had to make the past few years as proof.
Proponents on either side of various parking battles continued to state that ultimately updated parking standards were necessary. For years the city asked for patience, as the 2010 Strategic Plan was created followed by the Zoning Task Force to tackle the issue and provide the recommendations. Now, they’re finally here. I give you the proposed updates to Decatur’s parking standards.
Here’s my attempt at a summary of the changes. Let me know what I’ve missed by scouring the detailed docs on the city’s website.
- Currently allowed – New uses and all expansion of existing buildings are required to meet the current parking regulations.
- Recommendation – Allow uses of a building to change or an expansion up to 10% without being required to meet current parking regulations.
Mins and Maxs
- Currently allowed – Retail – 1 space per 200 square feet, Restaurant – 1 space per 100 square feet, Office – 1 space per 400 suqare feet, Bowling Alleys – 5 spaces per alley, fraternity and sorority houses – 1 space per bed, and so on…
- Recommendation – 1 minimum requirement (1 parking space per 500 square feet) and 1 maximum requirement (1 parking space per 200 square feet) for ALL commercial uses. 1 minimum (1 parking space) and 1 maximum (2 parking spaces) per dwelling unit. Also, shared parking shall count towards required spaces.
- Currently allowed – 50% of parking can be “shared” within 300 feet.
- Recommendation – 80% of parking can be shared within 1,320 feet and 50% can be shared for residential within 300 feet. Off-site shared parking must have “complementary uses and operating hours” and must be zoned commercial or institutional.