Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Civics, Corollas welcome in Hailey

City will allow developers to build compact parking spaces


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Hailey developers now have the option of building a limited number of compact-size parking spaces at new developments in the downtown area.

The goal of the ordinance change, enacted Monday, is to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution in the city. The option will also allow developers to designate less of their property for on-site parking.

The zoning ordinance change passed by the City Council does not alter the number of parking spaces required by a development, only the size of a portion of them. It will allow for no more than five compact spaces per new development.

"We limited the number of allowable compact spaces due to the fact that the valley has a large number of larger vehicles," said planner Mariel Platt, who introduced the ordinance change in August.

The change was part of a package of "sustainability ordinances" aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the city.

The compact spaces will be slightly smaller than standard parking spaces. They will have room enough for small SUVs, compact sedans and most two-door vehicles. Those include Honda Civics, Toyota Corollas and new Jeep Wranglers. The compact spaces would not be large enough to park trucks, larger SUVs and luxury sedans.

Subaru Outbacks won't fit in the compact spaces. Neither will a Toyota Camry.

The Hailey Planning Department had recommended that the council require the compact spaces to be situated closest to the entrance of a business to reward those driving smaller cars with a shorter walk. Councilman Fritz Haemmerle spoke out against such a requirement, saying it went too far in using the law to regulate behavior.

Planning Director Beth Robrahn said compact parking spaces in Boise, ironically, tend to be farthest way from the entrances of buildings.

"This favors those driving larger cars," she joked.

"Well, I don't like that either," Haemmerle said.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




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