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Orlando changes parking minimums in the central business district

Tucked away in a long list of revisions recently reviewed and passed by City Council is an item regarding required parking minimums for downtown developers, and here’s why it’s a big deal.

Parking minimums are ordinances put in place by a municipality that require buildings to provide a set number of parking spaces in order to be erected. The frowned upon side effects of parking minimums are that developments are often more expensive because they are needed to build a larger parking deck, and outside of big events most parking lots are already underutilized.

A more modern belief in urban planning circles is that parking minimums may actually undervalue our urban land by pushing away from more desirable uses like housing and retail and emphasizing the automobile over other means of transportation.

The Planning Division filed the suggestion to remove parking minimums in Orlando’s central business district in May 2022, where it was approved and then passed by City Council at the recent August 15 meeting.

“This is also an important aspect of our planning as the downtown becomes more of a multi-modal environment where walking and other modes of transportation are encouraged over automobiles. One of the potential opportunities of this change is that certain forms of housing that do not require parking (micro-units, shared housing, etc.) can potentially reduce the overall cost of housing in the central business district and allow renters to experience a car-free lifestyle. Additionally, tenants can use the City’s parking facilities if they really need to rent a space.

-ASHLEY PAPAGNI, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, OFFICE OF THE MAYOR, CITY OF ORLANDO

The City will also modify the boundaries of the downtown parking area by dividing it into two separate areas. They will also get rid of the requirement for developers to contribute to a fund when they provide more than the maximum allowed number of spaces.

Changes to standards for driveways, dimensions of parking spaces, design and screening requirements for parking garages are also being revised.

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