Choices offered for Banff parking requirements
By: Cathy Ellis
| Posted: Thursday, Jul 05, 2012 06:00 am
Banff’s downtown businesses will be given a choice of paying the majority of their parking requirements as cash-in-lieu or making half the stalls they build available to the public.
Council had earlier mandated a minimum 90 per cent of required parking in the downtown district be as cash-in-lieu, but has now agreed on a second option for the commercial sector, which claimed the move was a mere cash grab.
Should a developer choose to build parking as opposed to paying the cash-in-lieu, a minimum of 50 per cent of required stalls must be accessible to the general public and no less than 10 required stalls can be constructed.
Town officials say a development agreement outlining the parking requirements would be done up between the municipality and the applicant, which would be registered on title.
“People can be allowed to build their own parking as long as they make half of it available to the public,” said Mayor Karen Sorensen. “They now have another option.”
Councillor Leslie Taylor agreed, though she argued the cash-in-lieu provision was not as harsh as the businesses community suggested given the actual true cost of construction.
“I know we hear 90 per cent cash-in-lieu is punitive, but, given the costs of establishing parking, it’s not that punitive – but it is nice to have that flexibility,” she said.
Required off street parking for commercial development has been a requirement in Banff since incorporation. A cash-in lieu-provision was introduced for parking in 1990 to generate funds for the parking reserve.
In the last six years, cash-in-lieu payments – which are $21,000 a stall and do not reflect the true cost of construction – have varied annually from zero to $105,000. The reserve is currently in a $119,002 deficit.
In mid-June, council approved requiring a minimum of 90 per cent of the required parking in the downtown district by payment-in-lieu. The difference may be provided in constructed stalls and-or payment in lieu.
This does not apply to hotels in the downtown district, except for accessory uses, such as restaurants, within a hotel.
Taylor supported 50 per cent of parking spaces be publicly accessible, rather than a minimum of 30 stalls as recommended by administration.
“Administration’s view is downtown parking is for visitors, but my point of view is downtown parking should be for people who work in a building, customers and visitors,” she said.
The stalls accessible to the public must also be signed as an eight-hour maximum.
“We’re hoping to eliminate this as long-term parking and monthly rental,” said Darren Enns, the Town of Banff’s senior planner.
Enns said the new parking requirements aim to ensure visitors have access to parking, and arguably to place a premium on parking stalls which are available to visitors.
But, he said, on-site downtown parking rarely achieves this goal, noting several downtown buildings, such as Town Hall, Bison Courtyard and Saitoh Furs, have all provided on-site parking, but none to few are available to the public.
“It’s administration’s belief that parking in the downtown be a priority towards visitors,” Enns said.
“It’s also frustrating to see a private sector parkade be constructed and not accessible to the visiting public.”
Council passed third reading of phase 2A of the Land Use Bylaw June 25.