Inadequate commercial parking in Annandale and no enforcement of parking regulations has already caused overflow onto the residential streets.
Commercial Vehicles on Residential Streets
NO Parking Sign clearly visible right out the truck's windscreen. Yet, without ANY enforcement, illegal parking is already out-of-control in Annandale making our commercial district look like a truck stop. And then there are all those commercial vehicles that park on residential streets attempting to HIDE from police. They need not worry as the police and the county's code compliance office RARELY enforce parking regulations in spite of multiple citizen complaints going back years.
(Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)
The photographs above are a very small sampling of Designer Baby Accessories by Peggy Taves. Peggy's work and that of other artisans can be seen and purchased at the Artisans United Gallery in Annandale.
PARKING REIMAGINED INITIATIVE
"The County is reducing the ability to use cars without reducing the need to do so."
As it stands now, this will not work for Annandale Residents
Overflow parking on residential streets is epidemic in Annandale.
County staff from both the Land Development Services and the Department of Planning and Development have been asked by the Board of Supervisors to review Article 6 of the Zoning Ordinance (ZO), which sets requirements for off-street parking and loading.
County staff is currently working on a White Paper concerning proposed changes to the minimum parking requirements (MPRs) for new and renovated developments. This White Paper should be available on the Parking Reimagined website this fall at: https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-development/zoning-ordinance/parking-reimagined. County staff is expecting to be presenting their proposed parking amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors in early 2023.
Dr. Donald Shoup, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) was the first to come up with the theory of reducing minimum parking requirements (MPRs). His theory was first applied in the low-income areas of Los Angeles, where MPRs were preventing the building of adequate low-income housing. Los Angeles implemented his reductions in MPRs and were able to build more low-income housing along transportation routes. Since that time, other localities have started to reduce the minimum parking requirements in their areas. This reduction in MPRs has been especially helpful in areas with well-established mass transportation and has allowed the introduction of additional green spaces and trees in areas which had previously been large, impervious parking lots.
Green spaces and trees are important to our area for numerous reasons, including:
¨ Assisting in managing storm water runoff.
¨ Assisting in improving air and water quality.
¨ Assisting in mitigating heat islands.
¨ Assisting in improving the quality of life for residents.
Unfortunately, Fairfax County’s approach to reimagining parking appears to have a few problems. The first problem is that County staff wants to reduce the minimum parking requirements throughout the county, but they don’t want to pair the reduction in parking requirements with the addition of any green spaces nor trees. Without this required pairing, a reduction in MPRs will only lead to a reduction in parking and an increase in density.
County staff has stated that once the proposed parking amendment to the Zoning Ordinance is completed, they will start an evaluation of Article 5108.5 of the Zoning Ordinance, which addresses Parking Lot Landscaping. Article 5108.5 requires that any parking lot containing 20 or more spaces must include interior landscaping covering a minimum of five percent of the total area of the parking lot. County staff has stated that in the future, they hope to revise Article 5108.5 to require solar canopies in parking lots. Requiring solar canopies in parking lots is a valuable step forward, however, it is not the same as having additional green spaces and trees.
If parking spaces in new and renovated communities are reduced, as currently required in the parking reimagined amendment, then the required interior landscaping equal to 5% of the total parking lot area, would also be reduced. Plus, with more impervious buildings replacing the parking spaces, Fairfax County will actually end up allowing more impervious surfaces and requiring fewer green spaces and trees, then it currently does. This doesn’t seem like a reasonable course of action for a County which prides itself on being environmentally friendly.
The second problem with the Parking Reimagined Initiative is that County staff is proposing percentage decreases in parking requirements based on the type of classification of a locality. All Commercial Revitalization Districts (CRDs), such as in Annandale, are currently proposed to receive a 20% reduction in parking requirements for new and renovated developments. Applying a straight percentage to all CRDs, without understanding the various issues associated with that particular CRD, does not seem to be the most effective way to resolve parking issues.
All the literature related to reducing parking requirements, states that the best place to implement a reduction in residential parking requirements are areas which are transportation hubs. The Annandale CRD is not a transportation hub, nor does it have the transportation infrastructure in place that would enable residents to exist without a vehicle. Reducing parking requirements in multifamily dwellings in the Annandale CRD would only result in more on-street parking in surrounding communities, which already have excessive on-street parking.
Multifamily Housing Developments are swamped
due to the current inadequate parking.
I have never seen a multifamily housing development that had enough parking, let alone too much. Some of you may remember in 2021 when residents defeated a proposed high-density mixed-use development in the Annandale CRD, at the intersection of Hummer Road and Little River Turnpike. If the proposed parking amendment is approved, that same development will now be able to be proposed with 20% less parking required and without any additional green spaces nor trees required.
I do think Fairfax County needs to look at resolving the parking issues that face our County, however, changes to parking requirements need to be made in a way that benefit all parties involved; residents, businesses and the environment. Reimagining parking should have as its goal to reduce parking requirements in a way which creates livable communities for everyone. This includes those of us in Annandale, who are impacted by low tree canopies and heat islands.
If you are concerned about the Parking Reimagined Initiative, please email the following parties to voice your concerns:
The Planning Commissioners at Plancom@fairfaxcounty.gov and ask that your email be distributed to all Commissioners.
The Supervisors at ClerkoftheBOS@fairfaxcounty.gov and ask that your email be distributed to all Supervisors.
Let your voice be heard and contact the Planning Commissioners and the Board of Supervisors before they vote on this issue.
November 22nd - County staff will be presenting the draft to the Planning Commission Land Use Policy Committee.December 1st - County staff will be presenting the draft to the Board of Supervisors Land Use Policy Committee.
Reproduction of this article or photographs requires the written permission of the author and The ENDEAVOR News Magazine. Photographs are courtesy of the author with all right of use reserved. (Copyright © 2012 Annandale Chamber of Commerce. All rights reserved. (Photographs & images, on this page, and on this website, are not available for use by other publications, blogs, individuals, websites, or social media sites.)