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Greenwood Community Council meets Tuesday to discuss parking requirements for new residential buildings

The Greenwood Community Council meets from 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Greenwood Library, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N. The main topic on the agenda is a discussion about how much parking the city should require for new residential buildings.

A few years ago Seattle changed its development regulations to eliminate the requirement to provide parking in new multi-family buildings in areas defined as urban villages, or places with accessible and frequent transit service. Almost all of Greenwood fits that definition, and several micro-housing buildings are being built that will take advantage of that change by not including parking as part of the development.

There are advocates and strong feelings on both sides of this issue. Seattle’s previous parking requirements often required developers to include more parking than needed, raising the cost of living in new buildings and requiring residents who don’t own cars to help pay for their storage. Providing no parking at all takes advantage of unused public street space at no cost to the developer or tenant. When parking is scarce though, neighbors and their visitors have a harder time finding a place to park and need to walk farther to get groceries and kids to the car.

So what is the right amount of parking, and what should guide the city in deciding how much developers need to provide as part of their projects? The City Council has requested a review of parking requirement policies, and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is preparing its analysis. Gordon Clowers is leading the team that will respond to the council, and at our February meeting he will discuss some of the factors DPD will consider in forming their analysis.