Wellington Zoning Board OKs Changes To Parking Code

Wellington’s Planning, Zoning & Adjustment Board approved zoning text amendments Wednesday intended to simplify the code and improve village parking standards.

Village Planner Damien Newell said the board would be addressing parking ratios that evening, explaining that the code would apply only to new construction.

The current code was modeled after the county’s Unified Land Development Code regulations, and Wellington’s code is being reviewed incrementally by article and chapter. The proposed changes will address the organization of the village code and adjust some of the provisions.

The board had recommended that the residential code be based on the number of bedrooms.

The current code requires two spaces per unit for single-family residential homes. Parking spaces for multifamily units are based on the number of bedrooms within each unit. For multifamily residential, parking spaces are required at 1.25 spaces per efficiency unit, 1.75 spaces per one-bedroom or two-bedroom, and two spaces per unit for three or more bedrooms. The multifamily guest parking requirement is an additional 0.25 spaces per unit.

At its June 3 workshop meeting, the PZA Board discussed whether additional parking spaces should be required for multifamily units with four or more bedrooms.

The recommendation is to change the parking ratio to a flat space requirement per unit of two spaces per unit for single-family and multifamily homes of up to three bedrooms. A multifamily unit with four or more bedrooms will require an additional parking space per bedroom. The single-family and guest parking requirements are not being changed.

PZA Board Chair Carol Coleman said she thought an additional space should be added if there are five bedrooms for single and multifamily dwellings.

For non-residential uses, the parking ratio is typically one space per a certain square feet of gross floor area, according to the staff report. The most common ratio is one space for every 200 or 250 square feet, which equates to four or five spaces per 1,000 square feet of floor area.

Village staff recommended using a “default” ratio of one space per 200 square feet, or five spaces per 1,000 square feet, which would allow most properties and buildings to easily transition between different uses without creating any parking nonconformities.

The objective is to support the viability of the existing commercial properties in the village, according to the report, which explained that the list of uses in the parking standard table is very detailed and precise for certain uses but that the current parking ratio can be confusing.

The recommendation was to eliminate the detailed uses and consolidate them into a general use category. The parking requirement for retail would apply to all retail type sales, which would simplify the parking code and eliminate the misconception that parking ratios need to be so precise.

Staff deleted uses including airports, landing strips and heliports; convent or cloister; retreat house; auction, boatyard, camp or outdoor entertainment; marina; public or private utility; mobile or temporary retail sales; yacht club; accessory agricultural uses; general farming; and migrant farm labor quarters.

PZA Board Member Elizabeth Mariaca asked how many pages the deletions save. Newell said the current section was 27 pages. “It’s almost half,” Newell said.

PZA Vice Chair Michael Drahos made a motion to approve the ordinance as presented, and it carried 5-0.

In other business, the board approved an ordinance amending driveway and access requirements for the Aero Club neighborhood after the board had reluctantly denied a resident a variance for a third driveway that he had already constructed, thinking it was allowed because other homes in Aero Club had three driveways.

Planning & Zoning Director Bob Basehart said that in 2001, when the code was being adopted, village staff recommended the allowance of three driveways in certain instances where access to a barn or airplane hangar was necessary.

“The standard was every single-family home could have up to two driveways that would accommodate circular driveways,” Basehart said. “In certain areas, it was determined a third driveway was appropriate, such as a driveway for a barn. Most equestrian properties could have a second drive, and especially on corner lots, they could have a third drive.”

Village staff has also recommended that the Aero Club was a unique development with hangars or a freestanding garage, where a third drive is appropriate, but the board at the time thought a third driveway would have a negative visual impact and removed the provision.

Basehart pointed out that some homes in the Aero Club actually do have three driveways.

PZA Board Member Kenneth Kopp, who is on the Aero Club’s board, said the community supports the third driveway provision.

PZA Board Member George Unger recommended that the Aero Club board send a letter to the Wellington Village Council informing members of their support.

“That’s the strongest support you can have,” Unger said.

“I have no problem with this,” said Mariaca, who made a motion to approve the zoning text amendment, which carried 5-0.