Change is coming to the city-parish’s parking ordinance. The Zoning Advisory Committee, a group of developers, architects and professional planners that advises the planning director, met this morning to begin tackling proposed revisions of the ordinance and weighing in on changes that have been recommended by the Planning Department staff. Most of the changes are technical but significant and are designed to reflect specific needs of different neighborhoods.
“These are real suburban standards set in place 20 years ago and the city has changed a lot since then,” says Assistant Planning Director Ryan Holcomb. “Instead of one suburban parking standard across the whole city-parish they are looking at standards that would fit particular neighborhoods.”
As a practical matter, that might mean infill developments in urban neighborhoods won’t be required to have as much parking as they do now. Standards affecting the landscaping of parking lots and drainage are also on the table.
Revision of the parking ordinance is just one part of an overhaul of the city-parish zoning code, or UDC, which was called for in the 2010 FuturEBR master plan for land use and development. Planning Director Frank Duke says rewriting the UDC has been much more daunting than he expected because so much of it is out of date or poorly written.
“Ryan and I met yesterday with the parish attorney and they have brought us some portions of the code that are in desperate need of revision,” Duke told the ZAC this morning. “Permits has come to me with some portions of the code that are in desperate need of revision. This is going to be a much bigger job than I bargained for when I took the position.”
Consultant John Fregonese, who created the FuturEBR plan and is advising the Planning Department on its implementation, says part of the problem is that the city zoning code is “practically unenforceable.”
Tackling some of those issues will be next on the list after sections on parking have been revised, Fregonese says. That could be several months away. The ZAC has still more recommendations to go over with the planning staff. Proposed changes then must be approved by the Planning Commission and the Metro Council, a process expected to take at least six months.