It took three years and, in the end, left very few in the public completely satisfied. But on Feb. 20, Arlington County Board members adopted changes to how new residential-parking districts are set up and how the system is funded.
The measure raises the percentage of residents in a given area who must sign a petition for establishment of a new permit-parking district, and while it grandfathers in existing districts, both existing and future districts will be subject to higher annual fees so the county government can recoup the full costs of administering the program.
The ordinance rewrite also reduces the number of on-street-parking passes available to homes with access to parking areas, like a driveway.
Board members did shoot down one of the most contentious parts of the proposed plan, which would have allowed those without permits or visitor passes the ability to park on streets by paying for the privilege. That concept had been a cornerstone of the staff proposal, but was removed after public outcry.
The residential-parking program, which last had an extensive review in 2003-05, began in Crystal City in 1972 and has expanded to dozens of different zones across the county, mostly in areas where neighborhoods rub up against commercial or retail areas, resulting in jockeying for limited on-street spots.
Violators are subject to tickets, but not towing.
County Board members have acknowledged that there were so many disparate views in the community on the proposal that few would come away completely at peace with it. But, board chairman Matt de Ferranti said, the end result was “a step forward for our community as a whole.”
As the recent policy revision wended its way through the development process over three years, a moratorium on creation of new districts has been in effect. That will now come off, beginning in April.
Sixteen applications have been clogged in the pipeline since the moratorium was imposed in 2017.