D.C. Zoning Commission grills AAA on parking minimums

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We don’t know yet if the D.C. Zoning Commission will go along with proposals to reduce parking minimum requirements, but some commissioners certainly seemed skeptical about a few arguments for keeping the old rules from AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Many residents testified on the proposal at a hearing on Tuesday. So many people had signed up that there’s an overflow hearing this coming Tuesday (and you can still sign up to speak). Thirty-three residents spoke in favor of reducing minimums, while only seven opposed the reduction.

Many supporters echoed a theme about housing affordability. Since underground parking can add $30,000 to $50,000 per space to the cost of construction, that forces buildings that would provide more affordable market-rate or below-market units to charge more and/or create fewer units.

AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson John Townsend was one of the opponents, and he took issue with this approach. Earlier in the night, outside the hearing room, he apologized to me for the insulting remarks he made about me to Aaron Wiener of the Washington City Paper, and I accepted his apology. He also said he wasn’t going to be testifying, which is odd since he very quickly thereafter did.

Townsend argued that reducing parking minimums would have “a deleterious impact, not only on the District and its residents and its businesses and its houses of worship, but its restaurants and its citizens.” He said that parking is a problem, and we know it is because the District wrote more than 1.8 million parking tickets last year, Townsend said, a practice he called “a hidden tax on people who only want to do one thing: to enjoy the nation’s capital.”

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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Norman Leahy · November 13, 2013

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