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Pedestrian-oriented off-street parking regulations

The Zoning Code regulates the amount of parking for particular uses, as well as the design and location of such parking11. Parking facilities (i.e., lots and ramps) are generally restricted to commercial, industrial, multiple-family or office districts. Facilities with ten or more spaces are subject to Site Plan Review, including its standards related to parking location and the landscaping of parking lots12. In the OR1 and all R districts, parking lots and ramps are only allowed for institutional and multiple-family uses. In the OR2, OR3, and all C and I districts, parking lots and ramps of any sort are allowed as Conditional Uses.

The Zoning Code calculates the minimum number of spaces required for particular uses and, in some cases, the maximum number allowed. All non-residential uses greater than 100 square feet of gross floor area (GFA) are required to provide a minimum of four off-street spaces. In excess of 4,000 square feet, retail sales/services and offices are required to provide one spaced per 300 square feet of GFA. The Zoning Code only requires residential uses to provide one parking space per dwelling unit.

Reduced Parking Requirements

Requiring fewer parking spaces can serve to encourage more efficient use of land, including the sharing of parking spaces, as well as greater reliance on pedestrian and transit use. There are several ways in which the Zoning Administrator can administratively reduce the required number of off-street parking spaces. These parking allowances are cumulative:

Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District:

For the LRT station areas only, the PO Overlay District provides an automatic reduction in parking requirements. Multiple-family residential uses require only 90% of what is ordinarily required. Non-residential uses require only 75% of what is ordinarily required.

Multiple-family uses:

For multiple-family uses, required parking can be reduced up to 10 percent if the proposed use is located within 300 feet of a transit stop with midday service headways of 30 minutes or less in each direction.

Residential uses in OR2 and OR3 districts:

Projects including dwelling units or congregate living require only 90 percent of the parking that is ordinarily required.

All uses:

The parking requirement may be reduced up to 10 percent if a development includes a sheltered transit stop. The adequacy of the transit shelter is determined by the City Engineer.

Shared parking:

Uses that share parking can provide fewer total spaces if their peak periods of demand differ (e.g., office and residential or office and retail) (See Table 541-2.).

Bicycle parking:

Bicycle rack parking for four bicycles can substitute for one required off-street parking space.


The Board of Adjustment or Planning Commission can also authorize variances for further reductions in the required off-street parking. Variances up to 100 percent are possible for uses or buildings that serve pedestrian or transit-oriented trade or occupancy, or which are located near an off-street parking facility that is available to the customers, occupants, employees and guests of the use. Parking requirements for all other uses can be reduced up to 20 percent, or one space, whichever is greater.

Parking Caps/Maximums

Establishing a ceiling on the amount of parking can also serve to encourage more efficient use of land, the sharing of parking spaces, and greater reliance on pedestrian and transit use. Limitations on the amount of off-street parking are currently established only in the Pedestrian Oriented and Linden Hills Overlay Districts. Uses cannot provide more than 150% of minimum parking requirements, or ten spaces, whichever is greater. The principal public objective of this is to prevent parking from dominating the landscape.

Parking Design

The section Building Form/Placement (above) describes requirements that parking lots not be located between the building and the sidewalk. In addition, parking lots of ten spaces or more must be landscaped and screened according to Site Plan Review standards. Parking lots with four to nine spaces must be screened.

11 In many cases, off-street parking can be located off-site, subject to distance limitations.

12 Parking lots with 4 to 9 spaces are subject to the screening requirement of the Site Plan Review chapter.

Last updated Nov 3, 2011