For all those who have sweated through traffic jams in Fairfax County and have been unable to find a parking spot at their destination, take heart: The county has drafted ordinances that would increase the number of parking spaces at new office complexes, shopping centers, restaurants, churches and other buildings.

Although officials describe the proposed increases as minor, local developers are concerned that more stringent parking requirements would restrict their planning and could increase the cost of projects by forcing them to set aside more land for parking.

Development industry spokesmen said they are upset that the county is proposing stricter parking standards than those recommended by a consultant the county hired to study the issue.

"The county pays thousands of dollars a year for these studies and then ignores them," said Bill Lauer, who serves on the technical advisory committee of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association and is vice president and public affairs director for the Northern Virginia chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks.

"The more parking you require, the harder it is to do good land planning, preserve open space and meet good planning standards," he said.

Denton U. Kent, deputy county executive for planning and development, said the proposed parking increases "are not anything dramatic."

He said the decision not to follow the recommendations of the consultant, JHK & Associates, "was a judgment call based on the facts as they exist in Fairfax County as opposed to normal {national} standards," on which the consultant's report was based. "National standards were designed for places less affluent than Fairfax with less cars and less mobility."

The county paid JHK & Associates $126,372 for the study.

The county now bases parking requirements on the uses of buildings. For instance, fast-food restaurants must have one parking space for every four seats and one space for every two employes, and spaces at shopping centers are based on the net floor area.

The ordinances, scheduled for a public hearing before the county Planning Commission on Sept. 16. would standardize the method for calculating the number of spaces required for most commercial buildings, by using the gross floor area. In most cases, the result would be an increase over the number of parking spaces now required.

The new standards would apply only to new developments, but if an existing building were expanded or modified it might have to comply, county officials said.

Lauer also said that proposed changes in the number of parking spaces required for town house complexes would have a "monumental impact" on how they are developed. Under the proposal, developers would have to provide 2.3 parking spaces per housing unit and would not get credit for garage or carport spaces. Currently, developers must provide 2.0 spaces, and are allowed to include garages and carports in their counts.

According to a report, there is concern that many garages and carports are used for living space or storage, not for parking.