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Commercial, Industrial, and Office Parking Standards

This past Monday was my first meeting as a Planning Commissioner. Before the Commission were two items, erectile both items were for industrial properties along La Palma Ave. and featured parking variances.

Item No. 2 on the agenda was of particular note, erectile which was for a CUP and variance for a small gym located in an office and industrial center. The Code’s requires 466 parking spaces for this center, cialis 40mg but it only provides for 374 spaces. However, as part of the required research for this item, Planning Staff conducted two parking surveys of the center during peak business hours and found that the maximum number of occupied spaces was 216. Under current conditions, the center is oversupplied on parking by 73%, and Code would require more than twice the amount of parking as this center needs.

A common issue that is raised by Anaheim residents is a lack of parking. While providing too little parking creates obvious problems, especially in our residential neighborhoods, providing too much parking creates some less obvious problems for the City and the development of our community. The primary issue with providing too much parking is that parking takes away from other productive uses. This in turn lowers property values, minimizes walkability, and creates for an unappealing city-scape.

Land value is directly related to the value of productive uses that can be built on the land. By reducing the amount of required parking, additional land can be used productively (i.e. more square feet of retail, more office space, more homes, &c.). By providing more productive uses that generate more revenue, land prices go up. From the City’s perspective, this also raises property tax revenue, growing our General Fund.

In addition, an excess of parking ensures that each building is an island in a sea of parking, instead of being integrated into the fabric of our community. Instead of helping keep one another afloat, businesses must sink or swim in this sea on their own. Patrons of one business cannot easily go to other nearby stores without getting in their cars, at which point it’s nearly as easy to go to other destinations that are far away than right around the corner. In many retail shopping centers, where there is twice as much parking as is needed, the storefronts are set so far back across the parking lot that simply walking from the street to the store becomes a chore. Anaheim Plaza and The Festival are two good examples of this negative consequence of too much parking. (I have written elsewhere about why walkable shopping centers are a benefit to communities, I won’t belabor the point.)

Finally, this sea of parking is simply not attractive and does not contribute to a sense of place for a community. Despite the addition of an archipelago of trees within the asphalt sea, parking lots are terrible to look at and terrible to move through as a pedestrian or a driver. Parking lots are a necessary evil for communities that aren’t accessible via alternative modes of transportation. They should be minimized as much as possible while still providing sufficient parking.

When I asked about this at the meeting on Monday, I was told that the Planning Department would like to reexamine the City’s parking standards, especially within non-residential zones. This would be a good step towards maximizing the value of our City’s land and improving the walkability and character of our community.

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