City council votes to eliminate parking minimums for many businesses

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SAN DIEGO — City leaders voted to eliminate a parking requirement for businesses in an effort to support the local economy and reduce transportation emissions.

San Diego City Council unanimously approved the change Tuesday. Starting Jan. 1, 2022, commercial tenants and building owners in transit priority areas and commercial neighborhoods citywide will have the option to provide as much parking as their customers need, or use the space for outdoor dining and other purposes.

Existing municipal code requires businesses to offer a certain number of parking spaces, which can cost up to $25,000 for installation and maintenance per parking stall, according to a news release from the city. Staff said minimum parking regulations also made it hard for businesses to adapt to changing transportation and economic trends and encouraged more driving, contributing to climate pollution.

“Eliminating parking minimums for local businesses is yet another step in our movement to make San Diego neighborhoods more walkable, bike able, accessible and sustainable. It also benefits our small businesses financially, allowing them to invest their money more strategically,” San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said. “I’m pleased that the City Council has approved this parking policy reform, and I look forward to seeing its transformative impacts on our neighborhoods and businesses.”

The city said businesses will no longer be prevented from starting new enterprises because of a building’s parking limitations. San Diego joins a handful of cities nationwide that have implemented parking reform in residential and non-residential areas, the city said.

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