Community Planning and Development Warns Council Against Requiring More Parking
While other cities get rid of parking requirements to promote more affordable housing and walkability, the Denver City Council is heading in the opposite direction, requiring parking where it was not required before. Denver Community Planning and Development is warning that the council risks inhibiting development of much-needed housing on small lots.
Last year, City Council caved to fears that residents of car-free apartment buildings would “take” on-street parking spaces. Every member voted to suspend the construction of homes and businesses on small lots without parking spaces. In doing so, they backed a policy that’s going to make construction more expensive and housing less affordable.
Since then, the council worked out a rule that would require some parking on small lots, varying based on a building’s height and proximity to good transit. But the parking-above-all crowd still wasn’t satisfied, and Councilman Jolon Clark submitted an amendment to require even more parking.
On Tuesday, CPD recommended that City Council deny Clark’s amendment. Requiring additional parking would “make redevelopment more challenging,” CPD Senior City Planner Jeff Hirt told a meeting of the Land Use, Transportation, and Infrastructure Committee. The original parking exemption was meant to encourage homes and businesses on small lots where parking doesn’t fit — not to further constrain the addition of housing.
CPD analyzed how many more parking spaces Clark’s amendment would require based on a sample of developable lots, assuming each floor contained ten 400-square foot apartments. Where the proposal on the table would require 16 parking spots for a five-story building in that scenario, Clark’s would require 32 or 24, depending on the proximity to frequent transit.
“I will say, parking spaces cost,” said Council President Albus Brooks. “If we do have that conversation about keeping housing cheap… we’ve got to consider that as well.”
CPD also noted that the city has multiple stated policies on the record that are supposed to steer Denver away from the mandatory parking construction, especially near frequent transit service.
The City Council will consider the original text amendment, and discuss whether to consider Clark’s version, at its March 20 legislative meeting.