San Diego proposes new parking rules to save construction costs


San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer released a proposal that would eliminate parking space requirements for multifamily housing developments near transit hubs.

Parking requirements typically drive up construction costs as each space can add $35,000 to $90,000 per unit to a project’s budget. Eliminating those requirements in Transit Priority Areas (TPA) – within a half mile of a major transit stop – significantly reduces costs and allows builders to construct more units, according to a statement issued by the mayor’s office.

Under the new parking plan, multifamily projects can be built with as little as zero parking spaces in TPAs through the city. Builders can still include parking as part of their projects but can scale back the number of spaces or eliminate them altogether based on market demand.

“We need to create more housing affordability for San Diego’s working families and this will be a big step in that direction,” Faulconer said in the statement. “We know that more and more people are choosing to live without a car and are demanding quality housing near transit. This plan gives builders the freedom to be smart and creative with their projects, while contributing to our housing supply and our climate action goals by getting more cars off the road.”

Currently, the city requires builders to provide a minimum number of parking spaces for each dwelling unit built, regardless of the location of the multifamily residential development. This requirement can range from providing a single parking space for a studio apartment to two spaces for a unit with three or more bedrooms.

Housing developments in transit priority areas will also be required to offer a variety of transportation amenities available to residents, including: Secure bicycle storage or repair stations to maintain bikes for everyday use; Onsite bike, car, or small electric vehicle share programs for when a vehicle is needed; Storage or locker facilities to ensure delivery items can be safely stored until they can be retrieved; Transit passes to attract residents who want to live more sustainably and with more mobility options; and Healthy food retail and day care facilities, for those residential projects seeking to incorporate onsite lifestyle conveniences.

The mayor’s proposal could result in a cost savings of at least $35,000 per parking space that would no longer be required under this market-based reduced parking requirement.

In addition, builders can include more units in a project by utilizing the space saved by not having to build an underground parking garage or similar parking accommodations. This will help to increase the overall housing supply in the region and achieve the city’s goal of housing for all.

The mayor expects to bring the TPA parking plan to the Smart Growth and Land Use committee in early 2019.


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