Polk approves new, shared parking option for multi-use developments

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017

TIEC requests change to zoning ordinance

COLUMBUS – Developments with multi uses will not be required to have as much parking in Polk County, which could allow the developments to have more green space.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners approved a new option in its zoning ordinance for parking requirements to allow shared parking for a building that has multiple uses, such as a shopping center.

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Commissioners met Dec. 18 and held a public hearing prior to making the zoning ordinance amendment.

The amendment was made to the county’s parking requirement section of the zoning ordinance and states, “where multiple uses exist within a building or a development project an applicant will: a) meet the required minimum parking requirements; or b) provide documentation by a registered engineer or qualified professional to evaluate and certify shared parking using ULI (Urban Land Institute) or ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) International Guidelines for shared parking.”

County planner Cathy Ruth explained that developments will now be able to choose which parking requirements they want for multiple use developments. Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) made the request with the planning board recommending the text amendment unanimously.

Ruth gave examples of formulas that would be used in shared parking developments.

Commissioner Myron Yoder said he really thinks the amendment will help on green space as far as parking.

Commissioners discussed an email from a resident, who suggested the parking space saved from the shared parking option be required to be made into green space.

Commissioner Tommy Melton pushed to include that requirement but others said the county’s parking requirements already include landscaping required for so many parking spaces.

County attorney Jana Berg said the county already has landscaping requirements in parking lots and those requirements will also be included in the shared parking option.

Commissioners approved the text amendment by a 4-1 vote, with Melton voting against the motion.