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Arlington Residential Parking Working Group – Nearing its Recommendation to the Board
Arlington Residential Parking Working Group – Nearing its Recommendation to the Board

The Residential Parking Working Group was tasked by Arlington’s County Manager with recommending updates to the current parking policy for Site Plan and Mixed Use Development use permit projects in Arlington’s Rosslyn-Ballston and Jefferson Davis Metro corridors (the “Study Area”). As many members of our community can agree, providing the appropriate amount of parking for a new residential building can be a delicate balance. 

Currently, when a project is under review by the Board for site plan or use permit approval, the Board can agree to depart from the parking requirements within the zoning ordinance.  The goal of this working group, which is expected to wrap up its efforts in the coming month, is to deliver a recommended methodology and implementation plan to guide County Development Review staff in evaluating and approving multifamily residential site plan developments within the Study Area – the idea being that developers and community members alike could benefit from more certainty in the approval process.

During its 11 work sessions, the Working Group has looked at many facets of the residential parking issue. They considered the current ratios and what types of amenities might support approving less parking and, if so, how much less?  They compared Arlington’s current policies to other jurisdictions such as Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, California; and Denver, Colorado, among others. They considered the idea of encouraging more bike parking in exchange for requiring less car parking (as proposed, for every 10 bike spaces above the site plan minimum/2 less car spaces would be required). They considered approving less standard parking when dedicated car-sharing spaces are provided; something that’s being utilized in Montgomery County and DC. Another idea, which is still being debated, is whether an enhanced TDM (Transportation Development Management program) should be required when an applicant wants to provide more parking than what is provided for in the zoning ordinance and at what level would such an enhanced TDM kick in? The first proposal was for anyone proposing parking above 1.125 spaces/unit. They also discussed if some exceptions should apply for smaller sites and whether the cost of parking should be a part of that analysis? Parking for affordable and specialty housing was also discussed and the consensus seemed to be that parking ratios should remain lower for such uses. 

The Working Group, which started meeting in September of 2016, is expected to begin presentations to civic associations, BIDS and other stakeholders within the Study Area in the coming month. Once completed, they will also present the Group’s recommendations to the Planning Commission, followed by the Transportation Commission and, eventually, the County Board. While no dates are officially set, to stay informed about this process, sign up for email updates at: https://commissions.arlingtonva.us/residential-parking-working-group/