Superior Council considers removing off-street parking minimums
Superior's City Council is considering eliminating minimum off-street parking requirements in commercial and manufacturing districts.
The change to the zoning code would eliminate off-street parking requirements for a variety of commercial operations, including churches.
"I think it's a great idea," Plan Commissioner Kalee Hermanson said. "I just want to make sure so we don't see ... issues between businesses and parking spaces."
Those issues occur already and those issues will be resolved as they are now, Mayor Jim Paine said.
"There's a lot of surface parking downtown that's public," said Jason Serck, economic development, port and planning director. "There's also a lot of surface parking downtown that is either shared or privately owned."
Superior offers municipal parking lots in the downtown area including North 14th Street off Ogden Avenue, the 1200 block of Banks Avenue to the west, and behind Striker's Bar on Banks Avenue, in addition to on-street parking on Banks, Ogden and Tower avenues and along side streets throughout downtown.
While there used to be a lot of issues downtown in terms of parking, they are issues that are rarely seen anymore, Serck said.
"In my opinion, I think folks are going to take care of themselves when it comes to these things," Serck said. "I know some of you may have seen a potential hotel for downtown. They're going to want their parking. They're going to build as much parking as they need."
The changes wouldn't eliminate minimum off-street parking requirements in residential areas of the city.
"We may want to review that again in the future," Paine said. "There's a lot of discussion nationally about development and how you allow neighborhoods to transition. But I think we're going to want to be more deliberate when we do that."
Paine said the city would been to take a more deliberate approach when it comes to residential neighborhoods to avoid creating new parking problems that don't exist now.
"In a business district, people just figure it out," Paine said. "You're only there for a little while. Bentleyville, they're figuring it out and that's a small city when it comes to parking. It's not pretty, but they're figuring it out. Stadiums, concerts, all of it, they figure it out. Residential is a little different because you live there."
Serck agreed. He said if an apartment building is going up in an residential area that could create a lot of parking problems if there was no off-street parking available to the residents of the new building.
"To me, the most compelling reason, right now, to keep requirements in residential is if buildings transition," Paine said. "We want to allow more density in residential and parking could get in the way of that. In fact, it would. But if you just take a large house and turn that into a triplex, you start jamming up the street pretty quick. That's not to say we should have a requirement, but you have to be more careful in the way it works."
The council considers changing the ordinance Jan. 15.