As more people are working in smaller spaces, office owners are seeking additional parking spots for employees. Because the zoning code has a cap on the number of parking spaces allowed at new sites, the Mesa Planning and Zoning Board on March 25 will discuss and consider making a recommendation to the Mesa City Council for a change to the zoning code.
The board will meet at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, for study sessions and a public hearing at 4 p.m. March 25 in the Mesa Council Chambers, 57 E. First St. Both study session meetings will be held in the conference room on the lower level of the same building. For additional information, call the Mesa Planning Division at 480-644-4273.
An amendment to the city code proposes revisions to Section 11-32-3, the “Regulations for Parking Spaces Required” by revising Section 11-32-3(C) to increase the maximum parking space ratio for office developments, according to a public notice.
Chapter 32 is titled “On-Site Parking, Loading and Circulation.” Section 11-32-3(C) states, in part, “Maximum Parking Spaces. The number of parking spaces provided by any development in surface parking lots shall not exceed 125 percent of the minimum required spaces in Table 11-32-3 (A).” The table shows, in part, that one space is required per 375 square feet for general offices, retail and services.
“For those who like to think of it in thousands, it basically comes out to be about 2.67 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of office area,” Angelica Guevara, city of Mesa planner, said at the Jan. 20 study session of the Mesa Planning and Zoning Board.
“We’ve heard of a trend from our friends in the Economic Development Office and (people who) contact their office that they really feel that the parking requirements aren’t meeting the needs of the office users,” she said.
Research city of Mesa officials have compiled on the number of parking spaces for office users will be provided to the board, she said.
It includes that in 1970, office users allowed about 500 to 700 square feet per employee. By 2000, it was down to about 250 square feet of office area per employee and in 2012 it was down to about 176 square feet, she said.
“It’s anticipated that by about 2017 it will be down to about 151 square feet per employee. We’ve also heard from brokers and office users that they really see a need to be able to have about six parking spaces for each 1,000 square feet of floor area, and our current parking ordinance doesn’t meet that criteria. In fact, we actually with the update of our ordinance that happened a few years ago we added a cap – to only have a maximum of 125 percent over the required parking spaces, which is making it a challenge for some of those office users trying to come to Mesa,” Ms. Guevara said.
“We’re taking a look at the zoning ordinance and looking at coming forward with an amendment to the zoning code,” she said to the board.
Vice Chairwoman Suzanne Johnson asked what parking ratios other municipalities use.
“If we’re going to be looking at different parking ratios for Mesa, I’d like to see … what other cities already have so that we can remain development competitive,” she said at the January study session.
“Even three per 1,000 is considered deficient,” board member Michael Clement said, adding that “where the market really excels is with five or six” per 1,000 square feet.
“That’s what’s going on in all markets right now – parking is an issue,” he said.
“That’s what we normally see – somewhere between four or five per 1,000,” Gordon Sheffield, city of Mesa zoning/civil hearing administrator, said at the study session. “The flip side of the concern we have on that is if we set the minimum too high, then that makes some infill properties functionally not usable,” he said.
“The minimum is probably just fine, but allow for the higher — do something with that cap,” Mr. Clement said.
“Change the 125 percent,” Vice Chairwoman Johnson said of the cap.
“Yes,” Mr. Clement said.
The Mesa City Code can be accessed online at http://www.mesaaz.gov/clerk/CodeBook/Table_of_Contents.aspx.
In other business March 24-25, the board is slated to discuss and consider the following, according to the public notice:
•a site plan review for 3.84 acres at 1846 S. Crismon Road to allow the development of a retail center.
•a site plan review and rezoning for 3.34 acres at 7135, 7156, and 7159 E. Hannibal Circle to allow the development of a single-residence subdivision.