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Parking ordinance changes to be considered

June 22, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS and DAVE McMILLION

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What: Public hearing on text amendments to the Washington County's zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinance

When: Tuesday, 11 a.m.

Where: Washington County Administration Building, 100 W. Washington St., Room 226, Hagerstown

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Requirements for bicycle parking, visitor parking at multi-family developments and adequate space for drive-through queuing are among the additions to Washington County's parking requirements for developers scheduled to be discussed at a public hearing today.

The changes are part of an effort to bring the parking-area requirements in the county's zoning ordinance up to date with "the increased demands of our mobile society" with an eye to conserving resources, according to a report from Washington County Senior Planner Jill L. Baker.

The regulations have not had a major update since they were created in 1973, Baker wrote.

The new requirement for bicycle racks or lockers would apply to facilities with 50 parking spaces or more. Its addition would bring the county into compliance with a state law that requires counties with parking-area policies to address the need for bike parking, Baker wrote.

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The changes would add a requirement for one overflow spot for every two units at town houses and one overflow spot for roughly every three units at apartments and condominiums. That requirement is meant to address the issue of increasing multi-vehicle families and the need for visitor parking, Baker wrote.

Businesses with drive-throughs would have to provide 20-foot queuing areas that cannot block parking spaces or entrances.

Another change would give developments more leeway to expand before having to readdress their parking areas' compliance with the ordinance. Currently, the ordinance allows up to a 20 percent increase in use or structure size. The new version would raise that to 35 percent.

The amendment also would add provisions for shared parking areas, which Baker wrote could help mitigate the environmental impact of impervious parking facilities.

A proposal to introduce a maximum parking space limit was rejected by the Washington County Planning Commission, reports show.

The amendment also would regulate the use of parking facilities for sales and other nonparking uses.

Other changes are meant to bring the section up-to-date and to explicitly spell out requirements that have been implemented as a matter of interpretation, Baker wrote.

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