City of Regina
Saskatchewan CA

CC City Manager
CM23-24

Implications for Increasing Minimum Parking Requirements

Information

Department:Planning & Development ServicesSponsors:
Category:Not Applicable

Report Body

ISSUE

 

At the September 28, 2022 meeting of City Council (Council), Council considered report CM22-26 (Review of Minimum Parking Requirements - Supplemental Report) and directed Administration to:

 

“….report back to City Council in Q2 2023 on recommendations and potential implications to amend The Regina Zoning Bylaw, 2019 ….to increase parking requirements for apartment-type buildings in greenfield areas based on proximity to transit, unit type and visitor parking requirements.”

 

This report responds to this motion.

 

IMPACTS

 

Financial Impact

None with respect to this report.

 

 

 

Policy/Strategic Impact

The review was guided by the City's Strategic Priorities and the overarching theme that connects them: "Recognizing our relationship to the land, we grow our community and improve quality of life." This statement reinforces an Indigenous worldview that our relationship with the land is foundational, and our respect and care for this relationship informs and influences our decision-making. 

 

The recommendation to not increase minimum parking requirements aligns with the City’s strategic priority of Environmental Sustainability - specifically the goal to “achieve net zero emissions and become 100% renewable by 2050”. Greater parking flexibility will encourage and support alternative travel modes and a more compact and energy efficient urban environment.

 

The recommendation also supports the goal of the Community Safety and Well-being strategic priority to “create a healthier and more inclusive community” - reduced parking requirements will help support affordable housing, as parking results in higher construction and rent costs.

 

Environmental Impact

Although difficult to quantify at this stage, the recommendation in this report contributes to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in two ways:

·         Opportunities arise to replace personal automobile travel with active and transit transportation by not increasing minimum parking requirements.

·         Less surface parking supports an urban landscape that accommodates more buildings and green space, which creates a more compact and walkable city, and further leads to decreased personal vehicle usage and associated emissions.

 

OTHER OPTIONS

 

1.      Approve an amendment to the Regina Zoning Bylaw, 2019 (Zoning Bylaw) that increases minimum parking requirements for multi-unit, high-density residential buildings, in a suburban context, in accordance with the following:

 

a.      Amend residential and mixed-use zones by requiring that Dwelling, Unit – Building, Stacked provide 1.5 stalls per dwelling unit;

 

b.      Apply this requirement to the RL, RH, ML, MH and MLM zones outside of the Intensification Area (corresponds to Map 1c of the OCP – Intensification Boundary);

 

c.      Provide exception for smaller dwelling units and lots along Express Transit Corridor frontage and within Urban Centres and Urban Corridors, as follows:

 

The minimum parking requirement for dwelling units 60m2 or less in floor area, or are on lots that front or flank an Express Transit Corridor, or are located within an Urban Centre or Urban Corridor, shall be 1 stall per dwelling unit.

     

Instruct the City Solicitor to prepare the necessary bylaw to give effect to this recommendation, to be brought forward for consideration at a subsequent meeting of City Council following the required public notice.

 

This option provides increased parking regulations for higher density housing types (“Building, Stacked”), including stacked two (duplex) and three-unit (triplex) buildings and “apartment-style” buildings in greenfield neighbourhoods. However, Administration does not recommend this option as the data collected and analysis contained in this report does not indicate a need for increased parking regulations.

 

COMMUNICATIONS

 

This report summarizes information for Council’s consideration and did not require communication with the public or stakeholders, per Bylaw No. 2020-28 (The Public Notice Policy Bylaw, 2020).

 

DISCUSSION

 

This report responds to a motion from Council to provide “…recommendations and potential implications to amend The Regina Zoning Bylaw, 2019 ….to increase parking requirements for apartment-type buildings in greenfield areas based on proximity to transit, unit type and visitor parking requirements.” (CM22-26 – September 28, 2023). To this end, Administration expands on previous reports associated with this matter, as described in the Decision History section of this report, by introducing additional data and analysis regarding minimum parking requirements.

 

Study Area Data – Parking Capacity

 

Administration, as part of Report CM22-26 (September 28, 2022), visited sites in the Harbour Landing and Greens on Gardiner neighbourhoods. The purpose of the site visits was to assess the parking impacts in neighbourhoods where high-density housing was present. This report expands the data from report CM22-26 by:

 

·         Undertaking a work-week-evening visit to each site, in addition to the work-week-day and weekend visits already undertaken.

·         Undertaking a review of a second location in the Greens on Gardiner Neighbourhood (Greens on Gardiner - Area 2, as shown Appendix A-3).

 

The visits revealed that parking demand was highest during the work-week-evening periods; however, even during this peak time, there was still ample on-site parking available:

 

Harbour Landing

(Appendix A-1)

·         64 per cent of on-street parking was available

·         62 per cent of on-site parking was available

 

Greens on Gardiner – Area 1 (Appendix A-2)

·         50 per cent of on-street parking was available

·         42 per cent of on-site parking was available.

 

 

Greens on Gardiner – Area 2 (Appendix A-3)

·         No on-street parking was available

·         50 percent of on-site parking was available.

 

The following observations are drawn from this data:

 

For all study area visits except one, at least 50 per cent of on-site parking was available.

·         All study area buildings provided 1.5 stalls per dwelling unit, except for part of Greens on Gardiner – Area 1, which is townhouse and provided, legally, 1.25 stalls per dwelling unit.

·         Even if one stall per dwelling unit was required (current requirement), as opposed to 1.5 (requirement of former Zoning Bylaw), there would still be ample on-site availability.

·         Residents are not obligated to use, or, in some cases, acquire, on-site parking.

 

There was ample on-street parking available, except for Greens on Gardiner - Area 2 – work-week-evening period - this is likely because only one flanking street allows for on-street parking.

·         Street design/ function, as it relates to parking, plays a significant role in the overall provision and availability of parking.

 

Study Area Data – Parking Complaints/ Tickets

 

Administration examined data relating to parking issues (service request complaints and enforcement tickets) for the three study areas (Appendices B1, B2, B3), focusing on streets flanking the high-density housing and, as a comparison, some of the nearby local streets that are surrounded by low-density:

 

·         For the Harbour Landing Study Area (Appendix B1), the streets flanking the high-density housing experience the highest number of parking tickets (notwithstanding on-street parking availability).

·         For the Greens on Gardiner - Area 1 Study Area (Appendix B2), there is no conspicuous relationship between higher density housing and the issuance of parking tickets.

·         For the Greens on Gardiner Area 2 Study Area (Appendix B3), the issuance of parking tickets is relatively low – potentially since the land-use context, on the opposite side of the street, are the flanking walls of commercial buildings (therefore, no residential neighbours).

 

An examination of city-wide data (Appendix B-4) reveals that parking violations are most evident in the downtown and central area neighbourhoods; however, the Harbour Landing and Greens on Gardiner neighbourhoods tend to experience higher levels of parking violations relative to other suburban neighbourhoods. More analysis of potential factors is needed, but this is likely due to overall higher population density in these neighbourhoods, relative to on-street parking availability.

 

Development Application Data

 

Appendix C provides a sample overview of previously approved higher density residential developments in suburban contexts and their associated parking ratios. These examples include developments approved under current Zoning Bylaw (1 stall per dwelling unit), as well as former Zoning Bylaw provisions.

 

The former Zoning Bylaw required 1.5 stalls per dwelling unit for apartment buildings in the high-density residential (R6) zone. However, only 1 stall per dwelling unit was required for townhouse buildings. Other zones, such as the MAC, MS, or MX zones, also accommodated higher density residential and only required 1 stall per dwelling unit for all unit types.

 

The development application data shows that developers will implement a range of parking ratios to meet their market – 1 stall per dwelling unit appears to reflect the general preference, or opportunities to capitalize on (i.e. sell) additional parking. Rental developments tend to provide closer to minimum requirements because it is difficult to rent additional stalls to tenants; however, there are examples where developers have voluntarily over-supplied parking in rental units. 

This data confirms “what we heard”, from conversations with developers – that flexibility is beneficial for both builders and residents, as it recognizes and supports market diversity.

 

Additional City of Regina Data

 

As part of the review associated with the preparation of Regina Zoning Bylaw, 2019 (Zoning Bylaw), Administration acquired data from Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) relating to vehicle registration numbers per defined postal code blocks. The data was used to determine the average number of vehicles per property within each zone that applied to the former Zoning Bylaw.

The following observations are drawn from this data:

 

·         The former R6 zone had 14,098 registered vehicles and 12,201 properties (including individual apartment units), creating a vehicle per property ratio of 1.16 (on average, 1.16 vehicles per dwelling unit, which is close to the current minimum requirement – 1 stall per dwelling unit).

·         Comparatively, the R1 zone, which was the most widespread zone accommodating low-density development, retained 48 per cent of all registered vehicles, resulting in a vehicle per property ratio of 2.53 (on average, 2.5 vehicles per dwelling unit).

 

This data was not presented as part of previous reports. Although it is somewhat dated (2016), Administration is confident that it relates closely to trends that still apply today.

 

Other Jurisdictions

 

A jurisdictional comparison was included with Report CR22-49 – this current report expands on this comparison and references up-to-date information (Appendix D).

 

The jurisdictional comparison reveals a variation of minimum parking requirements, for high-density residential development located in a suburban context, ranging from zero (Edmonton) to 1.5 stalls per dwelling unit; however, it is noteworthy that the general trend is for reduced parking requirements, overall, or for classes of land-use or geographic area-based.

 

Considering the emerging trend towards lower minimum parking requirements, there is also, likely, a correlation between the maturity of a zoning bylaw and its parking requirements – as an example, Kingston, ON implemented a new Zoning Bylaw in 2022 and, based on a comprehensive parking study, significantly reduced its minimum parking requirements and implemented maximum parking requirements, which is a major shift in policy.

 

Policy Implications

 

Official Community Plan

 

Maintaining the existing minimum parking requirement helps achieve the following objectives:

 

·         Development of compact and contiguous neighbourhoods (Section C, Policy 2.5)

·         Advancing approaches to parking standards and management that encourage multi-modal transportation options (Section D3, Policy 5.17)

·         Considering alternatives for parking, height, or other development standards in support of affordable housing (Section D6, Policy 8.14)

 

Transportation Master Plan (TMP)

The recommendation supports Goal 9 of the TMP, which promotes the implementation of parking policy that encourages multi-modal transportation options (e.g. active and transit transportation) and land-use (e.g. mixed-use and higher density) that complements multi-modal transportation infrastructure and services.

Summary

 

·         Based on Administration’s observations of the study sites, on-site parking is underutilized and, further, this underutilization exists with a 1 parking stall per dwelling unit requirement.

·         While there are more parking violations in Harbour Landing, (and to lesser extent) Greens on Gardiner, than other suburban neighbourhoods, there is no clear relationship of these violations to high density residential sites. This suggests compounding factors may create local parking conflict.

·         The former Zoning Bylaw provided some opportunities for 1 parking stall per dwelling unit in other zones, or in townhouse developments. Developers tended to provide a parking ratio that suited their needs.

·         Parking requirements in other jurisdictions are variable, but trends across North America suggest municipalities are lowering parking requirements.

 

Other implications for increasing minimum parking requirements are covered in related City reports, CR22-49; CM22-26, described above, including:

 

·         Inhibits market driven approach to urban development that responds to consumer preferences.

·         Increase to housing costs and effect on affordability.

·         Deterrence to multi-unit housing and, therefore, housing diversity and inclusivity.

·         More expansive urban environment; more costly City services and inefficient use of land.

·         People will likely choose on-street parking where it is more convenient or cost effective to do so, especially rental housing as additional on-site parking is an additional expense to a tenant.

·         The reduced parking standards have been in effect for less than four years with no clear evidence that they are not meeting community need.

 

Considering the data presented and rationale of findings, Administration is recommending that the minimum parking requirements not be increased.

 

DECISION HISTORY

 

At its meeting held on January 27, 2021, City Council considered item CR21-4 and passed a resolution directing Administration to provide a report to Council in Q1 of 2022 on the implications of removing minimum parking requirements on new and current developments.

 

At its meeting held April 20, 2022, City Council adopted a resolution to table item CR22-49 to a meeting in Q3 of 2022 and directed Administration to prepare a supplemental report that included additional information pertaining to the 1 vs. 1.5 zero parking restriction impacts on greenfield development areas.

 

At its meeting held September 28, 2022, City Council considered item CR22-49 and passed a resolution to direct Administration to report back to City Council in Q2 of 2023 on recommendations and potential implications of amending Bylaw No. 2019-19 The Regina Zoning Bylaw, 2019 to increase parking requirements for apartment type buildings in greenfield areas based on proximity to transit, unit type, and visitor parking requirements.

 

 

Respectfully Submitted,              Respectfully Submitted,

 

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Autumn Dawson, Director              Deborah Bryden, Executive Director

Planning & Development Services              City Planning & Community Development

 

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