Site Planning

Why Is Parking Such A Factor?

More and more, particularly with infill projects, the parking requirements from the local jurisdiction can be a big factor in site design, density, and project economics.  In typical suburban tracts, driveways and on-street parking tend to satisfy the requirements.  But in higher density and attached products, you may not have driveways and the streets are too narrow to provide the parking needed.

In the past, I recall seeing that parking requirements might be 2.25 spaces per home, which is also providing for guest parking.  Assuming the homes have two-car garages, it means you need additional spaces in the site plan to meet the requirement.  If you have 100 homes, your site plan will need to accommodate 25 spaces outside of the garage.  However, I have recently seen some local jurisdictions with a requirement that translates to 2.75 spaces per home, which now means you need to plan for 75 additional spaces and that means you are losing density to meet the requirement.

How this parking requirement is calculated can vary from city to city.  But it seems that a good deal of the requirement is based on bedroom count within the homes.  As example, a one-bedroom unit might have a 2.0 space requirement, a two-bedroom unit at 2.5 spaces, and a three-bedroom at 3.0 spaces per home.  A good land planner or architect will research and understand the city parking requirements and is able to do the calculations to make sure adequate parking is incorporated into the site plan.

As a developer or homebuilder, you will need to work with your planner or architect to look at the various alternatives in terms of the floorplans that are right for the market yet also maximizes your project economics.  You could plan for all one-bedroom units to lower your parking requirement and maximize your density, but that may not be the best idea for the market and the economics.  The puzzle may take some thought and site plan reiterations, but it is the best way to ensure your project is as profitable as possible.

Please share with us below any of your comments and questions.

John Kaye has over 30 years experience within the land development and homebuilding industries, having held senior management positions with The Irvine Company, Koll Real Estate Group, and Brookfield Homes. As a developer, John has overseen the land acquisition, entitlements, and development of master planned communities, residential tracts, urban infill sites, and land assemblages. His experience and skill sets include land acquisition, land brokerage, project management, market analysis, finance, and strategic planning.

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