Frisco considers changes to parking policy
The town also plans to update its transportation master plan for the first time since 1986
Frisco is putting together a new transportation plan to help officials create more informed policies about parking issues in the community.
The Frisco Town Council held a widespread discussion on parking concerns in town during a work session with staff Tuesday, March 23, talking about whether any changes are needed to the town’s policies on overnight parking on public streets and on-site parking requirements for private properties.
Frisco hasn’t allowed overnight parking since at least the 1980s, according to Community Development Assistant Director Bill Gibson. There are a few exceptions to the rule, including parking lots at 275 Granite St., the Frisco Bay Marina and the West Main “Kayak” lot, which all allow overnight parking for up to 24 hours.
The main reason for the policy historically has been a need to keep roads clear in the winter for snow removal and road maintenance. However, Gibson noted that town staff frequently receives questions about why the policy is active on a year-round basis, even when there’s no snow on the ground.
Council members largely agreed that they didn’t want to allow overnight parking, noting that axing the policy could create new challenges with regard to individuals camping in their cars, short-term rental visitors crowding streets and potential nuisances for residents living on streets not designed for parking.
“I am really concerned about how changing the policy would affect Peak One neighborhood because the streets are not designed at all for on-street parking, let alone overnight parking,” council member Melissa Sherburne said. “So I think I would be open to it in certain places. That’s what I’d be open to discussing, some kind of thoughtful approach as to where it could happen.”
Council members suggested designing new parking zones, which would allow overnight parking in residential areas and parking lots where it made sense. The council asked staff to do some digging and return with potential locations for overnight parking exceptions at a future meeting.
The council also discussed whether changes were needed with regard to parking requirements for private properties. The town’s codes generally require one parking space per bedroom for residential spaces, with a cap of four total spaces. Commercial parking is regulated by a business’s size, requiring one parking space for every 350 square feet of floor area or 250 square feet for restaurants.
As land in the community becomes scarcer and more valuable, officials are considering reducing the parking requirements with the idea that trading parking spaces for more potential housing density and other developments might be worth the change, especially as the town makes a concerted effort to get cars off the road in the future.
The council ultimately asked staff to bring forward more comprehensive information on the proposal in the form of an update to the town’s transportation master plan, which hasn’t been updated since 1986.
“If we were to propose a half-space per unit, I’m not sure if the developers would hug me stronger than the environmentalists because they get more density but we have fewer cars,” council member Andrew Aerenson said. “But anyone who lives anywhere near that property probably would hate us because the people are going to have cars until something shifts in the market, in the industry of the world we live in. We’re still Frisco; we’re not New York City. Fundamentally, I’ve got a lot to learn before I have an opinion of, ’Is this a good idea or a bad idea?’ But I think it’s fraught with controversy. So let’s bring more data, continue the conversation. But let’s not do anything rash.”
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