Friday, August 28, 2009

Hailey considers compact parking spaces

Express Staff Writer

The city of Hailey is considering a zoning amendment that would permit smaller on-site parking spaces at new commercial developments. The proposed change could satisfy developers and environmentalists alike.

The change would allow up to 25 percent of parking spaces (but no more than five) to be "compact sized" and provide relief for some would-be builders struggling to meet the city's parking space requirements.

"We have had many complaints that the city requires too many parking spaces," said Mayor Rick Davis, after the ordinance was read Monday at a City Council meeting. "For some people, it means that their plan doesn't pencil out. This should lessen the burden."

The proposed change was brought to the council by City Planner Mariel Platt earlier this summer as part of a package of sustainability ordinances aimed at reducing the city's carbon footprint. The Planning Department hopes the change will encourage people to drive smaller cars, thereby reducing greenhouse emissions.

Councilman Fritz Haemmerle took issue with a portion of the proposed ordinance change that requires the compact parking spaces to be placed closest to the entrance of businesses, thereby rewarding small-car drivers with increased convenience.

"This is an example of government going too far," said Haemmerle. "It is the wrong use of laws in my opinion."

The council tabled the discussion until its next meeting on Sept. 2.

Tony Evans:

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