Parking, particularly in newer sub divisions with higher density housing, is a growing problem. The County requires of developers that they include 2 parking spots per home – and typically developers meet that requirement with a garage to accommodate 1 vehicle and a sufficiently long drive to accommodate at least 1 more vehicle. In addition developers of condominium complexes are required to provide visitor parking. The County assesses the site and sub division plans and determines the availability of on street parking; they do so taking account of the needs of winter maintenance, proximity to hydrants, sufficient clearance of parked vehicles from the end of individual drives, and assume a minimum space of 5.5 m requirement for parking of an average vehicle.
A few issues:
- many homeowners do not use their garage to house a vehicle (garages are often used solely for storage or as a workshop),
- some homeowners have vehicles that simply won’t fit into the garage provided,
- with newer subdivisions with smaller lot sizes there is simply too little space between drives to meet the 2 m clearance of drives and the 5.5 m vehicle size,
- some homeowners or renters have more than 2 vehicles
- In the absence of available on street parking close to home some homeowners park elsewhere (in nearby streets with on street parking or in public/mall parking lots)
In combination, these issues result in too great a demand for parking and too little legal availability. In turn, we, as Councillors, receive many complaints from frustrated residents, some of whom have been ticketed by By Law.
Typically when we see a situation such as this we would review, and if appropriate amend, the relevant Zoning By Laws that set County requirements on developers, including parking. As it happens, we are awaiting Provincial support of our new Official Plan – on receipt of that support it was planned to conduct a comprehensive Zoning By Law update which will address the issues above and others. However, we are experiencing significant delays in getting a response from the Provincial Government (we submitted our draft in Aug 2021 expecting a 3 month turnaround and now, 14 months later, we are still waiting!).
So – I made a motion in our Council Meeting of this term asking County staff to conduct an urgent review of parking and come forward with proposed changes that will address the parking issues going forward.
In the interim, we asked Losani, the developer of a planned 101 townhome development on Rest Acres Road, to work with us to address what is a wider sub division issue of parking (n.b. This developer has developed a large part of this sub division). I had hoped that they would have seen that a potential solution would be a common area for off street parking for this sub division – this would, however, require a reduction in the number of homes they were planning to build to free up space. Unfortunately they stuck by their Site Plan + 5 additional visitor parking spots – a help but not going as far as is needed to alleviate the wider problem.
I should reiterate that this is an issue of parking in higher density developments – it’s not specifically this Losani development. We see similar issues on Arlington Parkway and on Flagg Avenue that have other developers.
The attached extract from today’s Paris Independent (credit to them) shares an account of how the request for site plan approval for the Losani Development went in Council. The 2 Ward 3 Councillors voted against the plan approval because, though technically correct, it exacerbates and compounds an existing problem.
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