On October 23, 2018, after the review and approval of a Conditional Use Permit application for mechanical parking in a new four-unit multifamily apartment building in North Beach, the Planning Board recommended that the City Commission consider amendments to the mechanical parking ordinance to streamline the review process for similar types of mechanical parking applications. This particular mechanical lift proposal required Planning Board review for a CUP due to the fact that the parking area did not have access from an alley. The Planning Board also recommended that the proposed amendment be referred to the Land Use and Development Committee (LUDC), for consideration and recommendation.
On November 14, 2018, at the request of Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman, the City Commission referred the discussion item to the Land Use and Development Committee (Item C4M). On February 20, 2019 the LUDC discussed a draft ordinance and recommended that the City Commission refer the item to the Planning Board.
On March 13, 2019, at the request of Commissioner John Elizabeth Aleman, the City Commission referred the attached ordinance to the Planning Board (Item C4R).
The original mechanical parking ordinance required that all mechanical parking systems be reviewed and approved by the Planning Board, regardless of their location, or the size of, and number of units in a residential project. A subsequent amendment to the mechanical parking ordinance placed a limit of 20 units for DRB and HPB review, as that would cover most of the typical construction on single and double RM-1 and RM-2 zoned properties with low intensity apartment buildings. Mechanical parking in larger buildings with more than 20 units typically may involve valet parking and more lifts, which require a more intensive review of the use and operation, in addition to the design considerations reviewed by the DRB and HPB. As the Planning Board is well versed in operational issues arising through the use of mechanical parking, the administration believes it is appropriate to keep in place the Planning Board review for projects over 20 units that include mechanical parking.
Currently the review and approval of the DRB or HPB is only available to apartment buildings with mechanical parking that is accessed from a rear alley, in accordance with Section 130-38(4):
(1) The following exceptions to the mechanical parking prohibition may be considered by the design review board or historic preservation board, as applicable:
(a) Apartment buildings with 20 apartment units or less may utilize mechanical lists, in accordance with the review criteria of section 138-38(5), provided the parking area is accessed from a rear alley and secure storage for alternative transportation such as scooters, bicycles, and motorcycles is provided on site.
(b) Single-family homes utilizing up to three mechanical lifts may be approved by the design review board or historic preservation board, as applicable, in accordance with the applicable review criteria of section 130-38(5).
As part of their original motion in October of 2018, the Planning Board recommended that the requirement for alley access of the mechanical parking be removed, as there is no substantive reason why the lack of an alley alone should burden an applicant with a separate land use board review process. Removing this requirement would allow small scale apartment buildings to be reviewed in their entirety by the DRB or HPB.
The administration recommended two additional minor changes to the ordinance, which were endorsed by the LUDC. The following changes are included in the attached ordinance:
1. For single family homes, proposing a maximum of three lifts within an enclosed garage, the Planning Director or designee could review the application. Currently, DRB or HPB review is required for lifts on single family home properties.
2. A minor clarification for the annual reports required for mechanical parking systems, as indicated in Section 130-38(6)(f). Currently, inspections are required to be performed by a licensed ‘mechanical’ engineer. As all mechanical engineers may not have the required expertise for these inspections, the proposal herein would broaden the inspection personnel to include a licensed engineer or the elevator authority having jurisdiction.
PLANNING BOARD REVIEW
On April 30, 2019, the Planning Board held a public hearing and transmitted the ordinance to the City Commission with a favorable recommendation by a vote of 7-0.
The subject ordinance was approved at first reading on May 8, 2019, with no changes.