Area council eyes parking trade-off for 'missing middle' housing

·2 min read

Could a reduction in required parking spots for residential development help encourage more affordable and attainable housing?

That’s the question the majority of Grey Highlands council would like to see answered. At its regular meeting on June 15, council narrowly approved a notice of motion from Coun. Danielle Valiquette requesting that municipal staff look at options, through the review of the comprehensive zoning bylaw, for a reduction or elimination of parking requirements for residential development.

“In speaking to staff, there are some very interesting options we should look at from a parking perspective,” said Valiquette. “Parking requirements have not changed for 50 years. I think it’s time we looked at them.”

The motion from Valiquette suggested that parking requirements could be an obstacle for “infilling the missing middle.”

Council voted 4-3 in favour of the resolution with Valiquette, Deputy Mayor Aakash Desai and councillors Dane Nielsen and Cathy Little supporting the resolution. Other members of council indicated concerns about the wording of the resolution, but an attempt to amend the language was defeated.

Coun. Paul Allen said he fully supports more affordable and attainable housing, but had concerns about eliminating parking from residential development.

“If we’re going to increase density on residential lots, but are taking away the parking. Where are those residents and visitors going to park?” said Allen. “The approach should be to be able to increase the density on a lot. To me, we have to keep the parking.”

In response, Coun. Valiquette said her resolution was asking for staff to report back to council, through the zoning bylaw review, on options and possibilities.

Valiquette’s full resolution read:

“Whereas a municipality’s zoning bylaw is the most important regulatory tool in relation to parking; and

Whereas it is the only tool that technically forces parking to be required or not; and

Whereas the Municipality of Grey Highlands is at the beginning of reviewing the existing Grey Highlands Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw; and

Whereas Council is looking to create opportunities for the development of attainable housing within Grey Highlands; and

Whereas Parking Space Requirements are an obstacle to infilling the missing middle; and

Now, therefore; be it resolved that staff include options for removing and or reducing parking space requirements for residential development during the review of the existing Grey Highlands Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw.”

Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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