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Boston comes closer to eliminating off-street parking requirements for new affordable-housing developments

The BPDA board today joined with the Boston City Council in voting to end a requirement that new affordable-housing proposalsinclude off-street parking, as a way of encouraging such projects by eliminating what can now be a costly part of construction.

The proposal now goes to the city Zoning Commission, the keeper of the city's zoning code. If the commission approves the measure at its next meeting, on Dec. 8, it would be formally appended to the zoning code, which is the basis by which projects are allowed or rejected by the Zoning Board of Appeal, which decides whether to allow projects that require variances from that code. Most multi-family projects require such variances - although really large projects, of at least an acre or more, often get their own "planned development area" agreements with the BPDA, in which the two sides basically toss a site's zoning and negotiate what can be built.

The proposed zoning change would waive parking requirements for new proposals in which at least 60% of the units are either rented or sold as what the city considers affordable - for families making no more than 100% of the Boston area median income.

"Eliminating parking minimums for affordable housing developments in Boston is a major step towards expediting much needed transit-oriented housing and moving forward on our climate and sustainability goals," BPDA Director Brian Golden said in a statement

City Councilor Kenzie Bok (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Fenway, Mission Hill), who co-sponsored the council measure, added:

We know that every unit lost due to delay or the cost of unnecessary, mandated parking is a lost housing opportunity for someone who badly needs it. This zoning amendment allows the city and our partners to put homes for people first and remove parking minimums that don’t reflect our current needs.

The proposed change might not have been enough to save a 31-unit apartment building in Roslindale Square that the Zoning Board of Appeal rejected on Tuesday because its plans included no off-street, on-site parking.

Although the developer said it was applying for state grants that might let it rent as many as 100% of the units as affordable, the plans approved by the BPDA and before the zoning board called for only 42% of the units - or 13 in total - to be rented as affordable.

That still would have been far higher than the 13% of units the city now requires most new buildings to rent or sell as affordable.

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Comments

Just end parking minimums, period.

That’s one of the ways you make all of the supply more “affordable” rather than this micromanaged designation which won’t close the supply deficit the city is in.

Two steps forward, one back every time.

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Make mandated parking spaces only large enough for microcars and motorcycles with a stiff fine or tow for occupying two spaces.

Need more room? Then pay a user fee.
Only subsidize the efficient, the wasters already like to spend money.

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This feels like you would be penalizing families by doing so. Hard to get a micro car or motorcycle with children

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How dare you prioritize the housing of people over the storage of cars!!1

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Boston hasn’t had affordable development in years.

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Developers want to avoid mandatory parking minimums as well, right? So this would be an incentive.

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that someone who pays $500k + for a unit in Boston isn’t going to own a car?
As a realtor in Boston, I wouldn’t take a listing that doesn’t have parking.

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Oh, this is going to end well. I present South Boston as an example of the parking issues plaguing Boston.

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Hopefully this memo will make its way to our esteemed ZBA board members.

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The city needs to make all streets Resident Parking Only and restrict residents of these buildings from getting resident permits. Otherwise they just compound the problems.

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is an entitlement program and needs to be abolished. Streets are open to ALL members of the public, therefore ALL members of the public should have an equal right to use those streets - including parking on them.

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As if traffic wasn't bad enough already!

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But homeowners could not claim that they own the street in front of their house and no one can park there!

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Just more of I’ve got mine, you won’t get yours.

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People living near a train station shouldn't be inundated with people from other locations who want to park in the neighborhood instead of paying to park in the lot. That's fair.

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And which neighborhood of Boston do you call home?

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… and the public, acting through its elected government, has the right to determine who may use them for what purposes under what conditions.

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… that has voting rights on streets under city or county or state jurisdiction. And then only the part of the public legislators listen to. Getting rid of long established resident only parking is very difficult for most of the people adversely affected by it, including long term residents.

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Are you arguing in general against the democratic process as a means to regulate use of public property?

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How do you explain bike lanes?

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Yeah, we can’t allow people without off-street parking to park on the street. It needs to be reserved for long-time residents with driveways. Protecting the needs of existing residents at the expense of outsiders who moved in recently is clearly the purpose of local government.

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