New developments in Fairfax County will not be required to have as many parking spots under a policy change approved by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.
The “Parking Reimagined” policy has been several years in the making and is the first revamp of requirements since 1988.
The aim of the change is to develop more walkable and bike-friendly mixed-use developments, while also reducing stormwater runoff, encouraging the development of more green spaces, and reducing emissions.
The move by the county of 1.1 million residents follows what other U.S. communities struggling with lots of traffic and limited housing space are doing, namely addressing parking from a sustainability perspective.
The parking regulations adjust parking for different types of housing and will allow a reduced number of parking spots in multifamily developments. The tiered system allows for fewer parking spots in developments that are near mass transit in densely populated areas.
The new framework also requires minimum bicycling parking requirements and “redevelopment to encourage cycling as a sustainable transportation option for residents and visitors,” a county summary said.
The policy simplifies the processes developers and business owners need to follow and streamlines loading requirements for delivery vehicles. It could lower construction costs for affordable housing.
According to a staff report, “The cost of providing unnecessary parking has a direct effect on the cost of construction and the ability to provide affordable housing. For every required parking space additional capital is needed to fund this development cost which translates to higher rents and purchase prices for housing. Further, dedicating land and structures to unnecessary parking can limit the ability to construct
more housing in general (and part of the affordable housing problem is an overall housing supply problem).”
Since 2021, the county has held more than 100 community meetings, including 19 town halls and open houses, to get input from residents before adopting the measure.
Feature image, stock.adobe.com
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