County Board Approves Off-Street Residential Parking Guidelines for M

Published on November 18, 2017

  • Apply only to new Metro corridor residential projects approved by special exception

  • Govern County review of developer-proposed parking amount for new projects

  • Standardize recent practice of approving less parking than in decades past

  • Board retains full discretion to approve final parking ratio for each project

The Arlington County Board today adopted off-street residential parking guidelines for new, multi-family residential projects approved by special exception in Arlington's Metro corridors.

The guidelines are not requirements or expectations. They update and standardize the practice of recent years for new developments in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Route 1 corridors to be approved with less parking than in the past. Any parking reduction will only be supported if the staff and Board validate that the existing transportation system can handle the reduction or, if necessary, that additional transportation investments or incentives are provided for a particular project.

"These guidelines reflect the fact that the increase in transportation options in our Metro corridors means that some new developments will require less parking," Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. "The guidelines will only apply in the Metro corridors, and only to new projects approved by special exception. They will have no impact at all on existing buildings. And it remains up to the Board, to approve the final parking ratio for each proposed project, based on the site-specific circumstances and the project's characteristics."

The Board voted unanimously to approve the guidelines and related recommendations.

Basis for guidelines

The guidelines are based on the expansion of bus service, biking and walking infrastructure, bike share, car share and other transportation options in the County's Metro Corridors; the evidence of lower rates of parking demand in site-plan multi-family buildings; the tendency for abundant parking to attract households with more vehicles, and the fact that recently, when appropriate, site plans have been approved with parking ratios at 0.8 space per unit and below.

Key elements of the guidelines include:

  • minimum parking ratios for market-rate units ranging from 0.2 to 0.6 spaces per unit, depending on distance from the nearest Metro station entrance;

  • minimum parking ratios for 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) and 50 percent of AMI committed affordable units set at 70 percent and 50 percent of the market-rate minimums respectively;

  • reductions of up to 50 percent of the minimum parking ratios in exchange for elements such as transit infrastructure, expanded bike parking, bike share, and/or car-share amenities on site, in addition to those already required in baseline Transportation Demand Management (TDM) requirements;

  • a separate visitor parking recommendation of 0.05 spaces per unit for the first 200 units, which was added in response to concerns about spillover parking;

  • allowances for shared parking between different land uses in mixed-use projects;

  • allowances for meeting parking minimums through the dedication of spaces at existing garages located within 800 feet of the new building and in the Metro corridors;

  • mitigation requirements for provision of excess parking; and

  • relief from minimum parking requirements for constrained sites.

Public engagement

Staff worked with a County Manager-appointed Residential Parking Working Group, which included representatives of the County's Planning, Transportation, Housing, Economic Development, Environment and Energy Conservation Commissions as well as the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, Civic Federation, and NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association) to develop the guidelines. Auto ownership and parking use data in the Metro corridors and parking practices of neighboring jurisdictions were reviewed. The County conducted extensive outreach to residents, developers, businesses and other stakeholders.

The working group held 11 public meetings, beginning in September 2016. Staff created a project web site and an e-mail listserv with more than 500 subscribers; held two open houses and an on-line survey, and presented to civic groups, among other outreach efforts. The County Board held a public hearing in October on the guidelines, and incorporated feedback from the public into the guidelines approved today by the Board following a second public hearing.

To read the staff report, scroll down to Item No. 47 on the agenda for the Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 Regular County Board Meeting.