San Diego Considers Eliminating Parking Space Requirements to Save Businesses Money, Reduce Pollution

Currently, businesses are required to provide a certain number of parking spaces, but the city wants to eliminate the requirement in some zones

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If you think finding parking outside your favorite business is tough, it might get even harder. That’s because the city of San Diego is considering letting some businesses use their existing parking spots for something else.

Freshly Faded Barber Shop was full of customers Wednesday; so was their parking lot in North Park.

Finding parking near businesses can be tough in certain parts of San Diego. In some communities, it could get even tougher. The City of San Diego is considering letting some businesses expand their existing parking spots to use for things like outdoor dining and more showroom space. NBC 7's Audra Stafford reports.

“We call it 'No Park,' not North Park," Freshly Faded owner Derrick Banks said. “Cause there’s barely anywhere to park anymore.”

To make matters more complicated, the city is considering eliminating a requirement for businesses to have a certain amount of parking spaces. The city's proposal will ease the burden for new developments that currently pay up to $25,000 per stall, and must provide a minimum of one space per 1,000 square feet.

The city is also pushing for more walking, biking and transit use.

If approved, businesses can choose to provide as much parking as their customers need, or use the spaces for expanding their showrooms or outdoor dining.

Café Madeline has not had indoor dining in more than a year and benefited from added outdoor seating.

“Essentially, if it wasn’t for this parklet that takes up two spaces, we wouldn’t have been able to stay open, so it does make a difference for small businesses,” Café Madeline owner Christine Perez said.

Perez also calls the parking proposal complicated.

“We have some people in the community that actually park their cars there overnight because they have no parking in the neighborhood, so it’s kind of a double edge sword,” Perez said.

For now, the proposal only applies to businesses within transit priority areas located within a half-mile of a major transit stop.

This does not apply to public right-of-ways covered under the city’s outdoor dining ordinance -- now extended through July 2022.

The parking elimination proposal will be presented to the planning commission Thursday and will likely go before the city council in July.

The city council approved a similar change two years ago by removing parking requirements for multi-family housing developments built within a half-mile of a trolley or bus stop.

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