Council to hear from citizens on proposal to scrap commercial parking minimums

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“I don’t think the city should dictate to businesses how much parking they need. This needlessly increases their cost. It’s another form of red tape,” Farkas said.

“(But) if you further reduce the onus on the developer to provide adequate parking, it’s going to put more and more cost and burden on everyday residents who have a very reasonable expectation to be able to park in front of their own homes.”

Ward 11 councillor Jeromy Farkas talks with media in Calgary on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Farkas is asking for changes to the CTrain Green Line project given the COVID-19 economic challenges facing the city. Gavin Young/Postmedia
Ward 11 councillor Jeromy Farkas talks with media in Calgary on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Gavin Young/Postmedia

If Calgary went through with the proposal, the city would become only the second Canadian municipality to do away with parking minimums. In June, Edmonton’s council approved a similar change for not only commercial developments but also for residential projects.

Local real-estate developer Chris Ollenberger with Quantum Place said that while minimum parking bylaws may have made sense when the bylaw was introduced more than a decade ago, an update is long overdue.

“I think it will really help to lower the cost of business in a lot of ways and it’ll probably lead to a more pedestrian-friendly environment in many circumstances as well, where you’re not dedicated so much space to a storage of private vehicles,” Ollenberger said.

Ollenberger added he expects developers will still factor in an adequate amount of parking as dictated by market demand, but removing parking minimums would allow more flexibility in that planning.

City administration also supports the proposal, citing benefits in its report to council including notes that it would support “more active, vibrant, walkable places” and allow for “reduced motor vehicle usage and more efficient use of land.”

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