Parking predicament: Efforts to fix residential parking problem draw fire at planning commission

Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013 at 03:32 PM.

Under the new ordinance, which uses square footage as the determining factor, a residence with up to 1,500 square feet could get by with two parking spaces. But a 1,501 to 2,000-square-foot home would be required to supply three parking spaces.

A 2,001 to 2,500-square-foot home would be required to have four parking spaces; for 2,501 to 3,000-square feet, five spaces; 3,001 to 3,500, six spaces; 3,501 to 4,000, seven spaces; 4,001 to 4,500, eight spaces. For a more than 4,500-square-foot dwelling, two additional parking spaces would be required for each 500 feet.

Commissioners said they came up with this formula by following the model used in Point Washington.

While everyone in attendance seemed to agree that a solution needs to be found to the parking issue, most did not think this was it.

Speaking first was Attorney Gary Shipman, who is representing the newly-formed Walton County Small Business Association, which was formed in reaction to this ordinance. Shipman presented commissioners with a petition of around 1,200 registered voters who have signed and are against implementing the new rules.

Shipman's first stated concern is that the commission plans to make this a county-wide ordinance when admittedly, the only parking problems are in South Walton. Shipman said he owns a 90-acre farm in north Walton that he would have to build a parking lot for if this ordinance is passed.

"This makes no sense," said Shipman. "It would have a significant impact on subdivisions and make it impossible to build a home larger than 2,000-square feet. My 3,700-square-foot home in South Walton would be required to have seven parking spaces. This would stifle growth and building."

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