Tucked into a long list of revisions recently reviewed and passed by City Council, is an item concerning required parking minimums for downtown developers, and here’s why that’s a big deal.
Parking minimums are ordinances put into place by a municipality that require buildings to provide a set number of parking spaces in order to be built. Frowned-upon side effects of parking minimums are that developments are often more expensive as they’re required to build a larger parking deck, and outside of larger events, most parking is already underutilized.
A more modern belief in urbanist circles is that parking minimums can actually undervalue our urban land by pushing out more desirable uses like housing and retail and emphasize the automobile over other means of transportation.
The City Planning Division tabled the suggestion of doing away with parking minimums in Orlando’s Central Business District in May 2022 where it was approved and later adopted by City Council at the recent August 15 meeting.
“It is also an important aspect to our planning as the central City transforms more into a multi-modal environment where walking and other modes of transportation are encouraged over automobiles. One of the potential opportunities with this change is that some forms of housing that don’t need parking (micro units, shared housing, etc.) can potentially lower the overall cost of housing in the Central Business District and allow tenants to live a car-free lifestyle. Additionally, tenants may utilize the City’s parking facilities if they truly need to rent a space.”-ASHLEY PAPAGNI, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, OFFICE OF THE MAYOR, CITY OF ORLANDO
The City will also be modifying the boundaries for the Downtown Parking Area by dividing it into two separate zones. They will also be ridding themselves of a requirement for developers to pay into a fund when providing more than the maximum allowed number of spaces.
Also up for a revamp are changes in standards for driveways, dimensions of parking spaces, design and screening requirements for parking garages,
So we’re helping out the developers who have deep pockets but what does this say for the small business owners who are punished for not being able to suffice parking or create parking?