Proposed new off-street parking bylaws in Victoria are paving the way for fewer parking spots for residents of multi-family buildings.
A first draft of regulations was well received by councillors last week. In the works since February 2016, the new rules, among other things, aim to streamline the development process by reducing the City staff and applicant time required to deal with parking variance applications. An overarching effect could be densifying downtown and village centres, according to a staff report.
For residential parking, the required number of parking spaces may change depending on housing type, location and number of units. Parking for single-family homes, duplexes, secondary suites and garden suites will not change, but the number of spaces required for townhouses, and many condominiums, apartments and affordable rentals will decrease. Some commercial and other property parking space requirements would also change.
The regulations do not apply to public parking lots.
Mayor Lisa Helps sounded pleased with the recommendations. The current off-street parking bylaw hasn’t seen major updates since it was created over 30 years ago.
Although this is a bylaw about parking, Helps said her goal is to improve the housing market.
“Building parking is really expensive,” she said. “The more parking we require, the more expensive rental units and condos [are] … even affordable rental units. When we require a non-profit housing developer to put in a certain number of parking spots based on 1981 statistics, that increases the rent in the affordable housing units.
“The less parking spaces we mandate, the less cars there are and the less greenhouse gases are emitted.”
Parking spots for electric vehicles and bicycles, and accessible parking are other issues being considered by council.
Another proposed change is that front yard parking be allowed for single family dwellings and duplexes.
The public will have opportunity to provide comment at an open house on Nov. 20.