Friday, November 20, 2009

Canadian tower bypasses parking requirements

Kinda old (September 2009), but thought it was worth sharing: a developer in Toronto entirely bypassed parking requirements as mandated by city zoning rules and got the green light from the local community council. Like American cities (with the exception of New York and Chicago among perhaps others), Toronto's developers are also required to include a designated amount of space that is to be dedicated to automobile parking; but instead of fitting in the 140 parking spaces as demanded by city zoning in proportion with the residential units being built, the developer of a 42 storey tower in Toronto, Canada got away with nothing more than nine spots for car-share rental spots, and over 300 bicycle spaces. As the developer noted, including parking would have increased the cost of the units by $20,000. While the developer still had to go for approval of the city council by the time that this article reached press time in September, another local source says the tower is likely a go. This is far from an isolated case that is to be ignored, imo. While fitting in with Toronto's drive to "go green", the condo will now become a precedent for future developers to bypass the very expensive route of having to build a parking garage to accommodate cars. In addition, this new tower would have the effect of making other residential developers compete with the low unit prices which again means bypassing the accommodation of cars through parking spaces. This really sets the wheels in motion for a more environmentally friendly and liberal policy in Toronto's city planning in addition to providing precedent for other cities throughout North America. For those wondering, the tower is indeed located in the vibrant downtown Toronto only steps away from a subway and units have already been sold. +1 Toronto.

As for the Anchorage connection, you might have spotted an article in last Tuesdays ADN in which developers and planners who are re-crafting Title 21 codes are in a skirmish of sorts over parking and landscaping. Both are wanting to trim down on the amount of required parking while city planners want added landscaping which developers fear would offset the cost saved by less parking. I have to agree with the developers on this one. Besides discouraging investment or at least keeping costs the same, landscaping doesn't solve the need to make Anchorage more compact and still takes up land. It also means more manicured lawns and shrubs to maintain which includes even more use of water.

1 comment:

Dongshow said...

Thank you Marcus, great article, I wish there was more discussion of these issues. Our cities current surplus of parking is a major hindrance, simply replacing it with landscaping isn't very helpful. It's sad our city can't seem to figure out that increased density is it's future. Our Mayor doesn't have a clue on these issue either I'm afraid, her was telling us at an AFN function that our cities problem is the lack of parking and too much density. He asked for suggestions to encourage development, and nearly died when we suggested relaxed zoning on parking. I enjoyed the Toronto article as well. Thanks for the great site.