City may change off-street parking codes

City Commissioners heard the proposed code changes during a work session at the Jan. 20 meeting. They may vote on the changes sometime this month.

The off-street parking requirements haven’t been updated since 2009 and some are as old as the 1980s.

The city researched how its current codes compared to other communities in Ohio and the country, said Planning and Zoning Administrator Bryan Heck. It found the minimum requirements for commercial parking lots for certain use groups were high compared to other communities.

“We all would like to avoid the sea of asphalt that can be created by parking lots within the community,” Heck said.

Over the last two years, the city has also worked with the Miami Conservancy District to examine all of the city’s codes to find opportunities to provide green practices for reducing storm water.

Off-street parking requirements were reviewed as part of that process, Heck said. None of the current design requirements were removed, but more options were added to allow for green design opportunities.

“They’re more user-friendly and allow for more storm water retention,” Heck said.

The city’s current code calls for permanent dust free surfaces to be used for parking, such as concrete, asphalt and brick pavers. The changed language would include grass pavers or pervious concrete, which can help reduce storm water.

“We’re trying to spell out what those options are for people,” Heck said.

The code changes would also allow developers to add compact car spaces. It also adds a non-compliance section about civil fines, which falls under a Class B zoning violation and comes with a $100 fine. The fines aren’t new, but aren’t clearly stated in the current off-street parking requirements codes, Heck said.

Residents would also have the ability to store special vehicles such as campers or RVs on gravel pads on their property, as long as they’re five feet from their structure or property line.

The changes will be good for the city, especially the reduced minimum requirements and shared parking for businesses, said City Commissioner Dan Martin.

“Honestly, maybe other than two days a year, if you go to a big box store, there’s a lot of open area,” Martin said.

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