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Does Montgomery County Need Parking Requirements?

The question is raised as a zoning code update goes to a Montgomery County Council hearing Tuesday.

Are parking requirements still needed in Montgomery County?

Just Up the Pike blogger Dan Reed raises the question in a recent post just as a proposed new version of the county's zoning code is set to go to a public hearing Tuesday before the Montgomery County Council.

First drafted in 1928, Montgomery County’s zoning code has been revised several times, but not since 1977, when Montgomery County was predominantly suburban, Matt Johnson wrote on Greater Greater Washington.

Proposed code updates lessen the parking requirements that developers and property owners are supposed to provide in increasingly urban areas like Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton and Silver Spring, where there is public parking.

Under the current code, restaurants are required to have 25 parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet, Reed writes. The new version only requires between four and 10 spaces, depending on whether the restaurant is in a parking district.

Bike parking, car sharing spaces, charging stations and carpool spaces are all considered in the code update, Reed notes.

While the new code lessens parking requirements, Reed posits whether requiring parking minimums is necessary at all.

Reed sits on the board of the Action Committee for Transit, which, along with the Coalition for Smarter Growth and the Montgomery County Sierra Club, are against parking minimums.

Citing expenses inherent in building parking spaces and pollution caused by stormwater runoff from lots, Reed writes that some parking lots could be better utilized for buildings or parks.

Click here to read the full post on Just Up the Pike.

Click here for more information on the June 11 Montgomery County Council public hearing.

Fran Murphy June 11, 2013 at 03:18 PM
of course we need public parking. What are these people thinking? It is hard to support businesses of any kind when you can't find a place to park. One reason I often meet people at my favorite restaurant is because it is easy to park there. People have practical choices. Bethesda is nice but it is not Shangri La. Last time I looked Bethesda was not Manhattan. You can't walk everywhere and you need outside patrons to support the businesses there...so provide public parking.

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