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FairfaxTransportationFairfax officials continue to mull refinements to parking requirements

Fairfax officials continue to mull refinements to parking requirements

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Parking – preferably less of it – would be required in varying quantities, depending on development density and transit access, under Fairfax County’s “Parking Reimagined” proposal.

County officials this past spring and summer drafted a tiered framework for parking in various zones, with the idea of achieving flexibility, simplicity and predictability.

Under the proposed new regimen, which county supervisors still must approve, all parking would have to meet minimum requirements, Michael Davis, parking-program manager with Land Development Services, said Nov. 22 at the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Policy Committee meeting.

The initiative would retain flexibility for parking-lot landscaping and charging stations for electric vehicles. If a land use or facility were expanded by 10 percent or less, no additional parking would be required, Davis said.

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The latest draft of the still-being-developed parking regulations would require:

• 1.3 spaces per multi-family dwelling.

• 2.7 spaces per single-family attached dwelling (such as a townhouse), with one guest or shared-use spot for every five dwellings.

• 1.5 spaces per manufactured home.

• 2.3 spaces per stacked townhouse, plus 0.3 spaces per unit for shared-use or visitor parking.

• 2 spaces per single-family detached home fronting on a public street and 3 spaces for those fronting on private streets, plus 1 additional space per accessory-dwelling unit.

• 1 space per three residents at residence halls and congregate and religious-group living facilities.

• Each group household would be required by county supervisors or the Board of Zoning Appeals to provide “enough parking spaces to accommodate the needs of its residents,” county officials said.

The county now requires commercial and retail-sales areas to provide 1 parking space per 200 square feet of the first 1,000 square feet of gross floor area, plus 6 spaces for each additional 1,000 square feet. County officials are pondering reducing that formula to 4 spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area.

Offices with more than 50,000 gross square feet or more would be required to provide 2 spaces per 1,000 square feet, down from the current 2.5.

Suburban centers would receive a 10-percent parking reduction to 3.6 spaces per 1,000 square feet and revitalization areas would be allowed 20 percent less, or 3.2 spaces per 1,000 square feet.

Other areas would need even less parking. A transit-station areas (TSA) would qualify for a 30-percent reduction to 2.8 spaces per 1,000 square feet and a transit-oriented development (TOD) would be allowed 40 percent less parking than usual, with 2.4 spaces needed per 1,000 square feet.

The Planned Tysons Corner zone would have no parking minimums except 3 spaces per 1,000 square feet in areas that were not transit-oriented developments.

Residential units within higher-density areas would need less parking because of the “availability of multi-modal transport and a variety of amenities in closer proximity,” Davis said.

Parking for multi-family uses in higher-density areas should be based on the number of bedrooms, not units, as that produces a more accurate demand assessment, he said.

Minimum spaces for restaurants with outdoor seating would be reduced from 8 per 1,000 square feet to 5 – and possibly having no minimum requirement, Davis said.

Current proposals also would allow administrators at community, district, countywide and regional parks to set parking requirements at their facilities, instead of having them determined by the director of Land Development Services.

Officials are proposing that the director be allowed to approve parking reductions of up to 60 percent less than required parking in some areas (versus the current 30 percent) following a review by technical staff.

Supervisor Walter Alcorn (D-Hunter Mill) said that figure seemed excessive and he hoped the county would advertise a range of options allowing the LDS director’s approval before the board decided on the new parking plan.

District supervisors understand the rhythm and flow of their communities better than the Land Development Services director, said Supervisor Penelope Gross (D-Mason).

“There needs to be some sort of conversation, I would think, with the board member before a 60-percent reduction,” Gross said. “I think that’s really way too high because, quite frankly, the board member will get blamed when things go awry.”

County officials also would like to reduce stacking requirements for financial, pharmacy and other drive-through uses.

In addition, officials are considering a new zoning ordinance with bicycle-parking requirements that would mirror those for vehicles, said Austin Gastrell of the Department of Planning and Development’s Zoning Administration Division.

For multi-family dwellings, commercial sites and public, community and institutional uses, the number of required bicycle-parking spaces would need to be 5 percent of the number stipulated for vehicles, 10 percent of the number of vehicle spaces in revitalization areas and 15 percent of vehicle spaces in TSAs, TODs or the Tysons Urban Center.

For industrial uses, there would need to be at least 2 bicycle spaces per use, 4 in revitalization areas and 8 per use in TSAs, TODs or the Tysons Urban Center.

Officials plan to hold public hearings with the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors this winter and next spring concerning Parking Reimagined.

“I think this is absolutely headed in the right direction,” said Supervisor Daniel Storck (D-Mount Vernon).

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