Monday, June 24, 2024

Saanich considers reducing parking minimums to account for less vehicle reliability


With an expanding active transportation network in Victoria, changing Provincial housing requirements and an ongoing housing crisis, the District of Saanich is opting to update their residential parking requirements. 

Councillors Zac de Vries and Teale Phelps Bondaroff brought the motion, along with a detailed report, before the municipal council on Monday, March 18th. 

“Our current parking minimums were made when David Bowie was still Ziggy Stardust,” Phelps Bondaroff noted during the Committee of the Whole meeting. 

The purpose of the motion is to reduce the minimum parking requirements so when new buildings and homes are developed, less space and consideration has to be enveloped in parking space. 

The current parking minimums call for the following types of units to have their respective number of spaces:

  • Single family dwelling – two spaces
  • Secondary suite/garden suite – one space
  • Two family dwellings – two spaces
  • Attached housing – two spaces
  • Apartments – 1.5 spaces

de Vries and Bondaroff would like to see District staff prepare a bylaw that would comply with newly updated Provincial legislation on transit-oriented development, reduce the parking minimums in any building which has less than 12 units to one parking space per unit and convert the current parking minimums listed above to the new parking maximums.

They would also like to see Transportation Demand Management (TDM) strategy be developed by residential developers who build in residences which have more than 12 units, introduce loading zone requirements for buildings with more than 12 units and see that all other parking requirements not outlined in this bylaw remain intact. 

The benefits de Vries and Phelps Bondaroff outlined in their report are: 

  • Less urban sprawl due to less space being allocated to vehicles
  • Cheaper construction because less land and space will have to be acquired for vehicular requirements 
  • A positive impact on the environment—less parking could mean less cars which would reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases
  • Less unused space as many parking spots go unused by tenants and those who use active transportation or transit
  • Increased flexibility because parking minimums can hinder development processes for projects meant to serve communities with different needs
  • Less creative urban design due to builders developing around the parking requirements
  • Uptick of people using different modes of transportation

The Councillors concluded by saying that there would be no financial implications tied to this bylaw being drawn up and voted in.

There would still be opportunity for a public hearing on this potential bylaw before it was voted on by council. 

The council member motion was carried with only Councillor Nancy Chambers opposing, so now staff will put together a comprehensive report to bring to a future meeting.

Curtis Blandy

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