During a Sept. 13 council meeting, council members unanimously voted to extend the ban another six months to March 21, 2024.
Council first approved the temporary ban, proposed by councilmember Mark Jeffreys, in Sept. 2022. City planners established an Interim Development Control (IDC) overlay district to begin a zoning studying to determine the impacts of banning new surface parking lots. Jeffreys told CityBeat in a previous interview that council could make a decision on surface parking by April, but that timeline has been extended, along with the temporary ban.
Jeffreys told CityBeat there are many reasons to quell the expansion of surface parking lots.
“We know the impact of surface parking from multiple factors. One is from an environmental standpoint; it’s just horrible, it’s a heat island. It’s horrible for stormwater management,” Jeffreys says. “It’s also one of the worst forms of development from the city. We get very little earnings tax from that or property tax, versus if there’s housing there or an office building. Maybe there’s some retail there. We want to create a city that is people first, that is designed for people first, where people want to come to downtown. People don’t want to come to a downtown that is simply surface parking.”
"Prohibiting new surface parking facilities could impact city services and commercial activity in and around the study area," council's agenda packet reads. "Therefore, the Department of City Planning and Engagement staff believe these impacts require more study before making recommendations on the proposed text amendments."
Nearly 40,000 parking spots exist in the zone where city leaders are considering a surface lot ban. That number only accounts for surface lot spaces and multi-level public garages. City planner Maria Dienger told council members during a Sept. 12 Equitable Growth and Housing committee meeting that there are 150 surface parking lots currently downtown, amounting to 73 acres, or 13% of the total surface area of the zone. By comparison, only 8% of this zone is made up of parks, public lawns or plazas.