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LA Working on Ditching One Size Fits All Parking Requirements

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The Los Angeles City Council's Planning and Land Use Management committee voted yesterday to approve the Modified Parking Requirement District ordinance--the ordinance creates yet another form of supplemental use district, which allow planners and developers to apply different standards to different areas. Apparently, all 469ish square miles of Los Angeles have the same parking standards (except for those lucky variance-having types), so reform of the city's parking standards is long overdue. Eagle Rock supplied a test case for one of the more innovative mechanisms in the new ordinance--commercial parking credits, which allow businesses to pay the city a fee to use otherwise-underutilized street spaces. The pilot met some resistance when first proposed in 2006, but local residents have warmed to the system.

The commercial permits are one of seven new mechanisms that will allow parking districts to tailor neighborhood-specific parking requirements. (But first potential districts will have to pass a litmus test to gain approval--they have to prove a lack of adverse impacts to surrounding neighborhoods, among other things.) If approved, new parking districts can avail themselves of seven new tools: 1) change of use parking standards (i.e., if a building's use changes, parking requirements won't), 2) use of a new Parking Reduction Permit (individual projects could request fewer required parking spaces), 3) buildings could move parking off-site to within 1,500 feet, 4) decreased parking requirements, 5) increased parking requirements, 6) the commercial parking credits, and 7) maximum parking limits (each use within a district has a set maximum number of spaces).

Support for the ordinance was almost unanimous yesterday. Arguments in favor of the ordinance ranged from pro-business to pro-pedestrian to pro-environment to pro-Van Nuys. One thing was clear: the old parking rules aren't working--Mott Smith, with the California Infill Builders Association, told the council that "One size fits all standards have hobbled the growth of businesses."

The ordinance now moves to the full City Council. Image via Andrew Stawarz
· New parking plan positive for small businesses?but what about residents? [KPCC]