The Planning & Development Department (P&D) recommends the approval of an ordinance to amend Chapter 26, Sections 471 and 427 of the Code of Ordinances related to off-street parking and bicycle requirements in Houston’s Central Business District (CBD). This amendment will extend the CBD off-street parking exemption area into the East End and part of Midtown, excluding certain residential areas. This amendment also renames the new territory a “Market-Based Parking” area.
Within this area, the city-wide rules for off street parking are exempted and property owners may provide the number off-street parking spaces they believe are necessary to service their customers. This change gives property owners more flexibility in the use of their property and removes a bureaucratically-imposed minimum that is based on one-size-fits-all analysis.
Within the Market-Based Parking boundary, there are exemptions for parking and bicycle requirements due to the area’s unique characteristics that include a sufficient multimodal transportation system, high transit ridership, and the existence of significant surface and parking garage spaces.
Specifically, this amendment will:
- unite each new area under one parking spaces requirement;
- update requirements to reflect the current development trends;
- encourage the retention and adaptive reuse of existing structures by eliminating the need to demolish a structure in order to create a parking lot; and
- allow the creation of alternative parking standards within the defined area to account for unique parking demands.
On August 27, 2018 P&D staff held a meeting with stakeholders to introduce the concept and new boundary proposal. Members of both East Downtown Management District and Midtown Management District were in attendance. Notification of the meeting was sent to the Super Neighborhood Alliance and area civic clubs. With support of the stakeholders present, P&D moved forward with a presentation of the proposed expansion to the Planning Commission on August 30, 2018. A 30-day comment period followed, and a Planning Commission public hearing was held on October 11, 2018. On October 25, 2018, the Planning Commission approved the proposed Market-Based Parking area and requested the item be forwarded to City Council for adoption. P&D staff presented the MBP proposal to the Quality of Life Committee on March 27, 2019. Since then, the Department has continued to meet with representatives of area Super Neighborhoods on at least two occasions.
Both the Midtown Management District and the East Downtown Management District have written letters of support for the amendment.
Margaret Wallace Brown
Planning & Development Department