Council Moves Forward with Major Parking Reform

By Matt Adams
In a move intended to stimulate more middle income housing production the San Diego City Council voted to dramatically reduce its parking requirements on new development in exchange for transit friendly amenities such as transit passes and bike repair stations. The controversial plan brought friends and foes to the council chamber for the 3-hour hearing that included multiple delays as city staff worked to get the language straight when Councilmember Monica Montgomery requested that affordable housing projects be subject to the same requirement. They had been exempt from the proposed regulations.
BIA joined by business groups and housing advocates testified in support for the plan but cautioned on the potential negative impact of parking maximums that are included in the new regulations. The industry and others told councilmembers that the parking cap could pose problems for the production of multiple bedroom units that typically require additional parking. The city did provide a by-right alternative to exceed parking maximums in exchange for additional amenities. Council President Georgette Gomez asked staff to consider a transportation amenity fee that developers would pay in exchange for the parking reduction but it was not part of the council vote.  The proposal goes back to the council for a second reading and then implementation later this month.