UDA to reevaluate residential parking ordinance

by Nicholas Studenski

The University of Minnesota District Alliance has assigned a task force to reevaluatea 2009 city ordinance requiring residential properties to provide half of a parking space per bedroom, with at least one space per unit.

Ward 2 Councilman Cam Gordon said many builders “try really hard to work around” the ordinance. Property owners can apply for a variance to the rule, and according to Gordon, seeing variances granted is “pretty common in some areas.”

Southeast Como Neighborhood Coordinator Ricardo McCurley said developers don’t like the rule because they say many of the buildings don’t have the demand for so many parking spaces.

“The problem is that big buildings are saying ‘this isn’t profitable,’” he said.

McCurley said he’s concerned about the impact a change in the rule would have on the amount of off-street parking in the neighborhood. Many University students park in Southeast Como and walk or bike to class in order to save money on parking, McCurley said, which creates problems for business owners.

“[Como has] become a parking lot for the University,” McCurley said.

The UDA task force will meet throughout this fall and host a community meeting to collect input.

Possible changes to the ordinance, Gordon said, include changing the area of impact or simplifying it to only require half of a parking space per bedroom. He said it’s most important to ensure the availability of off-street parking in areas with a lot of housing.

“It doesn’t make sense everywhere,” Gordon said.