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City mulls new parking space requirements

October 13, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - Hagerstown city officials could loosen the requirement on the number of parking spaces that developers have to provide when they build new housing downtown.

Earlier this week, City Comprehensive Planner Stuart Bass recommended that the City Council require developers to provide one parking space for each one-bedroom unit. The existing requirement is for two spaces per unit across the board, he said.

For each additional bedroom per unit, the requirement would increase a half space. If a newly constructed apartment downtown had two bedrooms, for example, the developer would have to provide 1 1/2 parking spaces, he said.

Decreasing the number of required parking spaces is "a national trend," Bass said. "Every city is looking at their parking requirement as they relate to downtown. We're just following the trend."

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He said little space is available downtown for new development, however, some does exist. Bass mentioned a lot near the Washington County Free Library as one of those spots.

The council could vote on the issue Oct. 23.

Jason Goldberg, development coordinator of MADCAM development in Potomac, Md., said his company is in the process of developing apartments on East Franklin and East Washington streets.

Lofty parking-space requirements often deter developers from investing in downtown properties, while the city's proposal could have the opposite effect, he said.

"I 100 percent agree ... Lifting the restriction advocates development," Goldberg said. "It's in the best interest of the city."

Bass said the city doesn't have a parking-space requirement that developers would have to meet to rehabilitate existing downtown buildings for residential use.

"It would be the developer's challenge to find parking," he said.

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