Article Source: City of San Bruno CA
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February 11, 2020
TO: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council
FROM: Jovan D. Grogan, City Manager
PREPARED BY: Darcy Smith, Community and Economic Development Director
SUBJECT: Hold Public Hearing, Waive First Reading and Introduce an Ordinance to
amend and replace San Bruno Municipal Code Title 12 (Land Use) Article III (Zoning) Chapter 12.100 (Off-Street Parking and Loading) and amend Chapters 12.92, 12.96 and 12.200, and adopt the associated Parking Design Standards Resolution and Parking Fee Resolution
The City has initiated amendments for San Bruno Municipal Code Chapter 12.100 (Off-Street Parking and Loading) and related Chapters that include provisions related to parking, including Chapters 12.92, 12.96, and 12.200 and the associated resolutions, for a variety of public policy reasons that include:
· Implementation of the City Council-adopted Planning Documents. The code amendments incorporate adopted parking policies and regulatory measures recommended by City Council-adopted planning documents, including the General Plan, Specific Plans, and Downtown Parking Management Plan. These approaches include shared parking, trip reduction programs, transportation demand management requirements, mechanical or automated parking systems, and other parking management strategies that address parking in the City to optimize supply and manage parking efficiently. The proposed Ordinance and resolution will encourage economic revitalization and decrease vacancies in the downtown and barriers to new businesses by facilitating minor changes of use and allowing for payment of the in-lieu fee.
· Implementation of City Council Direction for Updated Parking Standards. The regulations implement past City Council Direction for updated parking standards. At a May 8, 2018 Study Session, the City Council expressed concern about formally adopting the reduced draft parking requirements set forth by the Transit Corridors Plan (TCP), and they supported adopting revised TCP parking requirements to be more conservative in the near term. Council expressed support of more conservative revised parking requirements presented at a January 22, 2019 City Council Study Session, which are incorporated into the Ordinance. Additionally, the amendments will allow for the collection of in-lieu fees in the specific plan areas, as recommended in the TCP and the adopted Downtown Parking Management Plan. The parking regulations have not had a comprehensive update in decades and parking is major policy priority of the City. Therefore, this chapter is being updated in advance of other housing-related Zoning Code Updates planned for later in 2020, pending City Council authorization of additional
funding. Additionally, the amendments incorporate policies intended to increase the supply of residential off-street parking in high-impact areas.
· Implementation of the Housing Element. The City’s 2015 Housing Element requires the City to update the parking standards for housing projects along transit corridors and adjacent to transit stations (implementation program 3-H). The deadline to complete this was April 2016. The proposed residential parking requirements are consistent with current State Laws regulating parking.
The State Department of Housing and Community Development has verbally contacted the City to request this be completed to ensure compliance with the adopted Housing Element. The City is at risk of losing its Housing Element certification, which would limit the City’s eligibility for State funding and expose the City to increased risk of litigation and payment of associated legal fees. The City’s goal is to adopt the proposed Ordinance before the next Annual Progress Report on the City’s status and progress in Housing Element implementation is required to be submitted to the State in April 2020.
The Ordinance would require:
· Land uses to provide a minimum number of off-street parking spaces based on floor area that are permanently available and maintained for parking purposes on the same parcel or development site as the land use they are required to serve (unless off-site parking is approved by the City subject to additional requirements).
· Off-street vehicle loading, motorcycle and scooter parking, and bicycle parking dependent on floor area and land use category.
· A percentage of the parking area to be landscaped, including tree plantings, dependent upon the number of parking spaces in the parking area.
· Transportation Demand Management (TDM) and Parking Management Plan implementation for relevant projects.
· Dimensions and design standards for parking are outlined in a separate Parking Design Standards Resolution.
The Ordinance would apply to:
· Brand new construction (for example, a new single-family residence or commercial building).
· Enlargements of existing buildings and land uses (for example, an addition to an existing retail building).
· Changes of land use occupying existing buildings (for example, a change in the use from retail to restaurant).
The Ordinance is presented as Attachment 1, with the Parking Design Resolution presented as Attachment 2 and the Parking Fee Resolution presented as Attachment 3.
The City held five public meetings to present, review and accept public, Planning Commission, and City Council questions and comments on the proposed regulations.
Past Public Meetings
May 8, 2018 and January 22, 2019 City Council Study Sessions
At a May 8, 2018 Study Session, the City Council expressed concern about formally adopting the proposed parking requirements set forth by the Transit Corridors Plan, as these draft proposed parking standards are significantly reduced from the current citywide requirements. There is an overarching concern that if parking is inadequate in new development, it could impact neighborhood parking. The high cost of housing and strong economy in the city appears to have increased vehicle ownership and on-site parking demand, with an observed increase in the number of vehicles parked in and near housing projects in the city and on residential streets. Parking utilization surveys of completed transit-oriented development projects in the TCP would be the best source to predict anticipated parking demand associated with new development in a location like San Bruno. However, no parking survey data is available since only one office building and one mixed-use building in the TCP have been completed to date
The Council supported revising the TCP parking requirements to be consistent with those in the rest of the City in the near term during the initial stages of TCP implementation. Only Nonresidential land uses could be eligible for up to a 10 percent reduction from Citywide parking standards with City approval and implementation of a project-specific Parking Management Plan and Transportation Demand Management Plan. The Council expressed support of the proposed new parking standards presented at a January 22, 2019 City Council Study Session. These standards are included in the Ordinance.
January 23, 2019 Parking “Town Hall” Meeting
On January 23, 2019, as part of the continuing community outreach effort to address downtown parking supply and demand, the City held a parking “Town Hall” meeting. The meeting included staff presentations on the results of a downtown parking study and the updated parking requirements within the Transit Corridors Plan Area, Residential Parking Permit Programs, and potential strategies to increase usable off-street parking in residential neighborhoods. A community feedback session followed. Consistent with the findings of the Downtown Parking Management Plan, residents expressed that they have difficulty in finding adequate street parking in their neighborhoods in the evening. Residents supported increasing off-street parking supply in residential neighborhoods through front yard parking opportunities. Provisions to increase opportunities for adding new usable off-street parking spaces in front yards or in existing garages in high-impact parking districts are included in the Ordinance as a result of this community feedback.
December 17, 2019 Planning Commission Meeting
On December 17, 2019, the Planning Commission reviewed the draft amendment and the Parking Design Standard Resolution. The Commission voted unanimously to adopt the resolution in recommending the City Council to adopt the Ordinance amendment. The adopted Planning Commission Resolution is included as Attachment 4.
January 28, 2020 City Council Study Sessions
On January 28, 2020, the City Council reviewed the draft Ordinance amendment, received public testimonies and provided feedback to staff regarding the Ordinance. Feedback was provided to staff on the proposed draft Ordinance and Resolution. The feedback is summarized in this report, with responses provided under the City Council Review and Input portion of the Discussion section.
Ordinance and Resolution Information
The proposed Ordinance aims to provide clear, consistent, and updated parking standards that implement the past direction of City Council, protect quality of life in the city, and facilitate economic investment in the City.
The following policy objectives have guided the proposed Ordinance:
1. Organize land use categories and parking requirements to provide updated standards that are resident- and business-supportive;
2. Increase the supply of single-family residential off-street parking in high-impact areas by allowing increased off-street parking; and,
3. Encourage economic revitalization and decrease vacancies in the downtown and barriers to new businesses by facilitating minor changes of use without negative parking impacts to nearby residential neighborhoods; and,
4. Implement the policies of the General Plan, Specific Plans, and Housing Element.
Key parking policies introduced by the proposed Ordinance include:
· Transportation Demand Management program requirements.
· Small business (defined as having floor area less than 2,500 square feet) change of use exemptions for the Central Business District (downtown).
· Allowing tandem parking subject to additional requirements.
· Allowing mechanical and automated parking with defined operational standards.
· Provisions for front yard parking exceptions to increase supply of residential off-street parking in high-impact areas.
· Adoption of bicycle parking requirements.
· A parking in-lieu fee for properties in specific plan areas parking in-lieu fees that could be paid on a voluntary basis by private property owners to be used by the City to fund parking facilities in specific plan areas, such as the downtown..
A detailed overview of relevant City planning policies is included in Attachment 5.
Objective 1 - Updated Parking Standards
A key objective of the proposed Ordinance is to make parking standards more resident- and business-friendly. The revised chapter assigns required off-street parking ratios to consolidated land use categories, which streamlines the off-street parking requirements while retaining a variety of land uses grouped by similar scope and parking demand. This approach eliminates unnecessary complexity and makes the chapter more concise and reader-friendly. For instance, in the current code, there are specific parking standards for over ten related land uses (amusement game centers, bowling alleys, mini golf course, golf course, gaming center, etc.) associated with different commercial and recreation uses. The proposed parking Ordinance groups these similar uses into one “category” and sets forth one parking standard to streamline implementation and reduce barriers to new businesses and economic revitalization. The detailed parking requirements can be found in Table 12.100-1 in Attachment 1.
Consistent with direction from City Council, nonresidential projects in Specific Plan Areas would also be eligible for a reduction in parking spaces of up to 10 percent with City approval and
implementation of a project-specific Parking Management Plan and Transportation Demand Management Plan. Staff is recommending this reduction because it is anticipated that this would be a realistic reduction in demand that could be achieved through implementation of parking management strategies and transportation demand management strategies. Examples of these include secured bicycle parking and bicycle commuter amenities such as showers and locker rooms, transit subsidies or clipper cards, on-site zip cars, and employee shuttles or carpooling coordination. An additional reduction in required parking could be achieved through payment of the in-lieu fee, as discussed below.
Specifically, within the proposed Bayhill Specific Plan Area, the City expects that companies located in that specific plan area would be able to prepare a TDM Plan and Parking Management Plan similar to the TCP employers, as larger employers have the resources to fund TDM measures such as employee shuttles and transit pass subsidies.
Objective 2 - Increasing Off-street Parking Supply in Residential Areas
The Downtown Parking Management Plan found that off-street parking in nearby residential areas is near or over capacity, indicating that there is a very high demand for residential parking and/or a lack of parking supply in the downtown-adjacent residential neighborhoods. Many of the homes in these neighborhoods were built in the first half of the 20th century and have limited onsite parking. In other cases, a modern vehicle cannot fit in the existing non-conforming garages and driveways. Furthermore, due to the high cost of housing in the Peninsula, many of the older homes are “naturally more affordable” (compared to new construction) and are found to be occupied with more residents which results in needing more parking spaces than in previous decades. This occurrence further complicates existing neighborhood parking issues.
To address these issues, the proposed Ordinance update includes policies to increase supply of off-street parking in high parking demand areas. High-parking demand areas would be subsequently designated by City Council. These policies are included in Section 12.100.030.F of the proposed amendment and include exceptions to development standards to increase the sizes of substandard garages and driveways to accommodate off-street parking and increase uncovered parking in the front yard. In addition, the Parking Design Standards Resolution allows tandem garages to applicable residential proposals.
Lastly, the Ordinance also limits the amount of floor area that can be added to an existing residence that provides less than two covered parking spaces. If more than 250 square feet is proposed for addition to an existing home without a two-car garage, two parking spaces must be added to the property. Flexibility on whether these spaces are required to be covered is provided based on the existing parking configuration. This provision replaces a Conditional Use Permit process, which was required for any addition resulting in floor area greater than 1,825 square feet with nonconforming off-street parking. This change in process is proposed to gradually increase the amount of off-street parking available in residential neighborhoods, reducing the demand for on-street parking.
Objective 3 - Economic Revitalization of Commercial Properties
The existing Parking Chapter includes development standards and requirements that unintentionally prevent the establishment of new businesses in the downtown due to the typical requirement of a very high amount of additional off-street parking for changes of use. Additionally, downtown property owners previously contributed to a parking assessment district that collected annual fees from the late 1980’s through the mid-2000’s to fund the existing downtown surface parking lots.
Currently, SBMC Section 12.100.010.C requires any changes of use within existing buildings to provide additional parking or loading facilities in the amount by which the requirements for the new use would exceed those for the existing use. For example, a new restaurant (parking requirement of 10 spaces by current standards) would be required to provide an additional six parking spaces to convert an existing retail space (parking requirement of four spaces by current standards) in order to comply with the current parking requirement. In the downtown area, many businesses are located on properties that are fully occupied by existing buildings with minimal (if any) space available for provision to satisfy the current off-street parking requirements; in many cases applicants cannot meet the parking requirements and ultimately cannot proceed with their plans. This inadvertently results in a decline of economic development and many unoccupied store fronts in the downtown area.
The proposed Ordinance includes two regulations that would alleviate some barriers to the establishment of and expansion of businesses while respecting the existing residential neighborhoods and parking demand in the City.
As recommended by the TCP and Downtown Parking Management Plan that was adopted by the City Council on January 22, 2019, the Ordinance and associated Parking Fee Resolution would establish a parking in-lieu fee for specific plan areas, with which applicants could voluntarily elect to pay a fee for each parking space not provided on-site. The Ordinance provides flexibility to property owners to utilize the in-lieu fee payment for up to 30 percent of the off-street parking spaces required. The in-lieu fee can be used in combination with a TDM program. The City would retain full discretion to review and approve requests to utilize the in-lieu fee on a case by case basis as part of a development project.
The fee amount was reviewed by City Council on January 28, 2020 and is included in the attached resolution. Revenue from the fee would be used by the City to fund parking facilities in in specific plan areas, such as the downtown . For example, a new downtown garage is anticipated to be needed to increase the parking supply to meet the additional demand projected by the Downtown Parking Management Plan future parking demand analysis. The Plan recommended that funds collected from an in-lieu fee, in addition to meter revenue, parking assessment districts, and/or public private partnerships, could be an important part of financing such a large capital project.
The City contracted with Economic Planning Systems (EPS) consulting firm to study the fee amount based on the cost of developing a centralized garage (inclusive of the cost of land and garage construction) under local real estate market conditions. EPS also prepared an analysis testing the feasibility of a range of fee amounts for different development prototypes. For example, the analysis shows the cost of $2,500 per stall is the only feasible cost where an existing retail store is converted into a restaurant where an additional five parking spaces would be need due to the change of use. Although the analysis was prepared based on one constant fee per space regardless of the number of spaces the fee is utilized for, staff recommends that in the TCP area the in-lieu fee be assessed on a sliding scale that increases proportionally with the number of spaces the fee is used for. The analysis also shows that a new office building in the Bayhill Specific Plan area could feasibly pay up to a $60,000 in-lieu fee. In this area, aboveground structured parking is currently prohibited by the voter initiative Ordinance 1284, so required parking can often only be accommodated in underground parking lots, which cost approximately $80,000 per space at minimum. Payment of the in-lieu fee would therefore be
economically advantageous to Bayhill property owners, provided that the fee is lower than the cost of underground garage construction.
The Resolution allows for an adjustment of the fee to keep pace with inflation adjusted increases in construction cost. The fees will be indexed annually during the master fee schedule update process beginning in 2021. In addition, the in-lieu fee study may be updated every three to five years to verify that the fee amount is feasible and appropriate relative to current market conditions.
Small Business Exemption
Secondly, the Ordinance includes a Small Business Exemption (Section 12.100.040.I(3)) for property-owners of existing buildings built prior to 2005 in the Central Business District. The Small Business Exemption allows the first 2,500 square feet of a more intensive use to occupy existing buildings without providing additional on-site parking spaces or paying the in-lieu fee. This exemption would facilitate small changes of use that do not have significant negative impacts on the existing on-street parking supply and encourage the establishment of small businesses in the downtown in existing underutilized buildings. The exemption also recognizes that downtown property owners have already paid fees to increase the off-street parking supply downtown through the former parking assessment district.
Objective 4 - General Plan, Specific Plans, and Housing Element Consistency
The proposed Ordinance is intended to implement the policies of San Bruno’s General Plan, Specific Plans, and Housing Element. Relevant policies are included in Attachment 5.
City Council Review and Input
On January 28, 2020, the City presented the draft Ordinance and Resolution for review and comment by the City Council. Feedback was provided to staff on the proposed draft Ordinance and Resolution. The following summary includes the major substantive comments and questions raised by City Council and staff’s responses to each of the issues identified.
In-lieu Parking Fee
Council asked staff to explain the rationale for the difference in the proposed parking in-lieu fee amount between the Bayhill Specific Plan Area ($60,000) and the TCP, Crossings, and Navy Site Plan Specific Areas (sliding scale ranging from $2,500 to $10,000).
Staff response: The Bayhill Specific Plan Area has higher land values that support a higher in-lieu fee. Additionally, developments in this area are likely to include subterranean parking garages due to the applicability of voter approved Ordinance 1284 which requires voter approval for buildings above three stories or fifty feet in height. This is in contrast to other specific plan areas where above-ground parking structures are allowed. Subterranean garages of two to three levels underground are considerably more expensive to construct per space than the $60,000 fee. Staff proposes no changes to the in-lieu fee as this is a voluntary fee that developers must willingly elect to pay as an alternative to providing the required parking spaces on-site.
After further consideration and more detailed analysis, staff recommends revising the in-lieu fee for office land uses in all specific plan areas except Bayhill to have a flat per-space fee of $25,000. Office uses generate higher rents and property values than other
nonresidential uses and can support a higher fee than the sliding scale originally proposed. No change in fee is recommended for non-office non-residential land uses in the TCP and U.S. Navy Site specific plan areas, as reflected in Attachment 3.
· Mechanical and Automated Parking Facilities Maximum
In response to public comment, Council asked staff to clarify why the Ordinance limits the percentage of required off-street parking that can be mechanical parking.
Staff response: The specification of a maximum number of mechanical and/or automated parking spaces is imposed for several reasons. First, some spaces in mechanical parking structures cannot accommodate larger vehicles, such as SUVs or full-size trucks or vans. Therefore, to accommodate these larger vehicles, some parking spaces should be in a traditional non-mechanical or automated parking configuration to accommodate larger vehicles. In addition, some users may be uncomfortable parking vehicles in a mechanical or automated parking facility or unwilling to accept the delay in parking and accessing their vehicles associated with mechanical or automated parking. Additionally, accessible parking stalls cannot be provided in these facilities currently. However, public comment voiced support for looking towards the future, and alternative approaches to meeting on-site parking requirements.
In response to public comment and Council discussion, as well as additional feedback received from property owners with development projects under review by the City, staff proposes a change to the Ordinance by increasing the maximum number of required off-street parking permitted to be provided by mechanical or automated parking facilities from 55 to 75 percent if valet assistance is provided and with recordation of an “Agreement to Provide Parking Assistant.” No change is proposed to the maximum required off-street parking allowed as mechanical parking without valet assistance (50 percent).
· Tandem Parking
The Council agreed with the Planning Commission’s recommendation to allow tandem parking for customers of nonresidential land uses with valet assistance.
Staff’s response: Staff has revised the Ordinance (Section 12.100.040 F 2(b)) to allow tandem parking for customers provided that valet assistance is provided and with recordation of an “Agreement to Provide Parking Assistant.”
· Unbundling Residential Parking
Council expressed concern over Planning Commission’s request to consider allowing unbundled residential parking for new developments in neighborhoods with established Residential Parking Permit Programs.
Staff’s response: The proposed Ordinance does not include regulations that expressly allow or prohibit unbundled parking. Policy decisions on unbundled parking can be made by the approval body on a project by project basis taking into account the project location and context. Therefore, staff proposes no changes to the Ordinance amendment.
In addition to the aforementioned revisions, staff determined the inclusion of specific, objective parking requirements for emergency shelters, which serve homeless populations, would be beneficial and consistent with State law. To provide clarity to property owners undertaking such projects, staff proposes the objective requirement of one vehicle parking space for every ten beds, one short-term bicycle parking space for every ten beds and one long-term bicycle parking space for every five beds. The recommended requirement is based on observations from the San Bruno Police Department regarding rates of vehicle and bicycle ownership among the local homeless population, which indicate high bicycle ownership and low vehicle
Staff made a minor number of final revisions to the Ordinance and resolutions, providing clarification to ensure the most legally sound Ordinance and resolutions possible based on additional input from the City Attorney and staff. These revisions do not make any substantive material changes to the regulations or processing requirements. These edits have been made in the revised final Ordinance and resolutions.
Development Projects in the Pipeline
At the time the Ordinance is presented to the City Council for adoption, there will be a few development projects with submitted discretionary planning applications under review by the City. The Ordinance and associated resolutions would apply to development projects on their respective effective dates, and development projects would be required to comply with them in order for the City to approve the projects. However, the City has provided the draft versions of the documents to applicants with submitted discretionary planning applications under review by the City, and staff has been working closely with the applicants to ensure compliance with the new regulations.
None from introduction of the Ordinance; if the Ordinance is adopted, the City will collect application fees from new parking compliance permit applications. Currently, the City’s Master Fee Schedule does not include a processing fee for parking compliance permits because they are a new application type. Therefore, the Parking Fee Resolution includes this new application fee which would be an initial deposit to ensure full cost recovery of the fee to cover the staff and/or consultant time spent processing the application, as well as the direct costs such as public notification. The parking in-lieu fee would provide a future source of funding to be used by the City to fund parking facilities in specific plan areas, such as the downtown.
The Ordinance and resolutions qualify for an exemption from the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) pursuant to Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations, Section 15061(b)(3) and 15378 (b)(5), because the Ordinance and resolutions are not Projects that has the potential for causing a significant effect on the environment.
1. Decline to introduce the Ordinance or adopt the resolutions;
2. Provide additional direction to staff regarding the provisions of the Ordinance and resolutions.
Hold Public Hearing, Waive First Reading and Introduce an Ordinance to amend and replace San Bruno Municipal Code Title 12 (Land Use) Article III (Zoning) Chapter 12.100 (Off-Street Parking and Loading) and amend Chapters 12.92, 12.96 and 12.200, and adopt the associated Parking Design Standards Resolution and Parking Fee Resolution