Danville’s vice mayor thinks city officials should reexamine parking space requirements for businesses because the rules are outmoded and complex.
One big issue is there are dozens of business classifications used to help determine how many parking spaces an establishment must have at minimum to operate, said Vice Mayor Lee Vogler.
“There are 54 different categories,” Vogler said of the city’s code. “Reading it is like reading a novel, and they’re not really consistent.”
Each classification, he argued, has a different parking requirement.
“If you’re a barbershop or a beauty salon, you have to have a certain amount of parking,” he said.
Steve DelGiorno, owner of 616 Farm to Table Restaurant, Crema & Vine, and Lynn Street Market, said he agreed with Vogler’s statements.
“It’s time to take a look at that, especially in today’s environment,” DelGiorno said Thursday. “Businesses are being conducted in a different manner.”
Many customers, DelGiorno said, shop online, swoop in to a business to pick up their items and leave.
There are way too many classifications, he said, adding that he has not had parking issues at his businesses.
Trends have changed since the rules were written, Vogler said.
“I imagine a lot of this stuff was written in the 1980s, when big shopping centers and malls were the rage,” he said.
Times are different now, the vice mayor argued, and localities are moving beyond those regulations.
“There are dozens and dozens of cities drastically reducing parking minimums or getting rid of them completely,” Vogler said.
Danville Planning Commission Member Harold Garrison said he has not looked into the matter.
“I really don’t have any thoughts on it right now without going through and reading all the zoning, which is something I intend to do,” he said.
City Manager Ken Larking said city staff, including the planning office, will look into parking requirements.
“We’ll take a look to see if there’s an opportunity to make modifications that better meet the needs of how people park,” Larking said.
Parking needs will drop drastically in coming decades, Vogler said, noting that the parking needs across the country have dropped by as much as 40%, especially in urban areas.
“We need to start planning ahead,” Vogler said.
In some cases, the requirements are putting too much space between businesses, he said.
“You’re creating seas of flat concrete parking lots,” he said. “It’s an inflexible relic from a bygone era.”
Crane reports for the Register & Bee. He can be reached at (434) 791-7987.