Richmond City Council approves change on requiring parking minimums

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 11:18 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As Richmond continues to grow, there will no longer be empty parking spaces and white lines with it after city leaders voted to change the minimum parking requirement for developers.

The shift in the city’s parking ordinance now allows developers to create off-street loading zones and parking spaces throughout the city.

“What you’ll find is you may have a number of entities that will continue to provide,” Kevin Vonck, with the Department of Planning and Development, said. " You may have situations where they will not provide a certain number of parking spaces. Those decisions are going to be based ultimately on the end user.”

City leaders said the change would help the city further its development goals with the Richmond 300 Plan by reducing costs to developers, reducing traffic and enabling more efficient ways of parking through shared use.

“I know it’s hard to park on the street at noon at Scott’s addition. However, you can walk around the corner, and you can see 50 parking spots closed off from anyone using them,” Councilman Andreas Addison said. “That’s the conflict this is going to help us resolve.”

While all members of the council at Monday night’s meeting approved of the change, one resident raised concerns about how this could impact one-way transportation is changing.

“No one has yet even mentioned that the future is electric vehicles,” a speaker told the council. “Electric vehicles are not only going to need a place to park, they will also need charging stations.”

While many in attendance told the council they favored the change.

“In Richmond, where a housing crisis was just declared, removing parking minimums can lower development costs, potentially free up land for additional homes, and lower the price of housing for residents,” a speaker said.

City leaders said rather than getting rid of parking lots and garages as a whole; they would like to see them placed where they can impact the most amount of people.

“Let’s put parking where parking is more valuable, where it creates activity between points accessibility between businesses, across different areas,” Addison said. “Not in specific buildings but in areas where they’re needed.”

While developers now have the option to build parking spaces, they must still stick with the requirements in place regarding dimensions, paving materials and landscaping if they choose to build it.