Fink wants parking requirement for townhouses to remain the same

When it comes to parking,  it seems that size matters.

Warren Fink, of Mount Forest, wrote to Wellington North council recently asking it to reconsider a reduction of the minimum requirement of 1.5 parking spaces per unit for townhouse projects.

The item had been part of a housekeeping bylaw intended to clean up a number of items in Wellington North’s comprehensive zoning bylaw.

“We are a rural society dependent on the automobile. There are no public transportation options. Anyone travelling to the townhouse facilities will be travelling by automobile. The need for adequate off street parking it obvious,” Fink wrote.

He added, “Overflow vehicles from the townhouse complex parked on streets and road­ways near the entrances to these facilities pose a serious and unnecessary traffic hazard. Townhouse facilities by their very nature, result in an increase in vehicular traffic on those same roadways surrounding and leading into the facility.

Fink also believe the change will create a serious safety concern.

“Throughout most of our communities in Wellington North, there are many streets with no sidewalks. This re­quires that pedestrian traffic must use the roadways. Vehi­cles parked on the roadway will force the pedestrians further into the roadway at locations where visibility may be limited.

He added, “I expect that you will receive ‘expert’ advice from the County planning department that will support the reduction in the minimum requirement from 1.5 parking spaces to 1.0. Experts have been wrong in the past. The names Titanic and Hindenburg come to mind. I appreciate that they have a different perspective than the people who live in our community.

“The motive for the developer is profit. We expect our elected council to put the quality of life in our community as the priority. Inadequate parking might also affect the ability of the developer to successfully market the dwellings.

Planner Linda Redmond said the parking aisle width will be dealt with at a separate housekeeping item in the future.

She said the zoning bylaw was adopted in 2001, and the housekeeping bylaw addressed changes to wording or legislation updates as well as official plan conformity issues. She said one of the changes was for the parking regulations. One area that seems to come up regarding parking for townhouses.

She explained there are two types of townhouse developments – ones that front onto existing public municipal streets, and those facing private interior streets.

Townhouses facing public roads tend to be privately owned, while those in cluster developments face internal roads.

Redmond said for cluster developments, the requirement is 1.5 parking spaces are provided for each townhouse to allow for some visitor parking.

She said the issue with the internal roads in those developments is “You cannot park on the road.”

Those roads also serve as fire access routes, she said.

With street townhouses, the homes are reached from a public street where there is on-street parking. However, the parking requirement is still 1.5 spaces.

The problem is where to provide that half parking space for visitor parking for privately owned townhouses.

Redmond believes the requirement was an oversight at the time the original bylaw was drafted. She pointed out single family dwellings and semi-detached dwellings re­quire only one parking spot.

That would place a freehold townhouse in the same category of one parking spot per dwelling.

Councillor Ross Chaulk also has issues with the reduction in the number of parking spots for townhouse units.

He asked for that item to be removed for discussion at a future meeting.

Councillor Dan Yake agreed with moving the issue to another meeting.

Yake said parking re­quirements is an issue that has come to council before, and is something that should be re­viewed more thoroughly before any changes are made.