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Council approves parking rule change to encourage rentals

Clark’s Market could be the guinea pig

By Mark Reaman

In an effort to relieve some pressure with parking requirements in Crested Butte for new affordable housing units, the council approved an ordinance on March 19 that amends the town code to allow some private parking within the public right-of-way.

General public parking is allowed on town property behind the curbs in the “B-3” and “T” zones. The new change will allow some parking requirements for private affordable housing units to be partially contained on town rights-of-way for the exclusive use of the residents of the units. The change would apply only to the B-3 and T zones.

Specifically, the issue came up in discussions about the proposed expansion of Clark’s Market. Only one affordable unit is required with the expansion but the developers have requested to construct three additional units. Six parking spaces would be required for these units and, given the space, required parking spaces could not be accommodated on site.

For the area along Belleview Avenue east of Fifth Street, it was determined that 13 head-in parking spots could be created but half the space would be on private property and half on town right-of-way.

According to Crested Butte town planner Bob Nevins, since 50 percent of the parking area is on public land, it was proposed that the owner should receive a 50 percent credit toward meeting their off-site residential parking requirement. Thus the 12 spaces met the six-space requirement. The six western-most parking spots will be reserved for residents, while the eastern spots will be available for general parking use.

The Board of Zoning and Architectural Review (BOZAR) recommended the council adopt the change to the town code with conditions. They asked that signage be used to delineate the “resident-only parking,” and the property owner should also provide a parking plan for winter plowing and snow storage “to alleviate the need for residents having to move their vehicles when winter parking regulations are in effect.”

“The amendment would not impact Elk Avenue or Sixth Street,” explained Nevins. “But it allows for a business to expand and increases parking while being flexible with some long-term affordable housing. It helps gives businesses a chance to consider creating long-term rental units.”

“It will require some immediate snow removal,” noted mayor Jim Schmidt.

“One key here is that there is already a lot of head-in parking in some places in these zones,” said Crested Butte community development director Michael Yerman. “This will actually give more clearance to get vehicles off the curb and into their lot.”

“It is an excellent example of how the town can identify a shortcoming in the town code and be willing to amend it,” added Nevins.

“Affordable housing is the town’s number one priority but it does not serve the residents who will live there if they are getting towed every other night in the winter,” said Yerman, who noted a winter plan for the new proposed spaces has not been ironed out yet.

“It is not a perfect solution and six months of the year it could be a challenge,” he said. “We are trying to find ways to get more deed-restricted and affordable housing. Clark’s will have to do more snow removal than they do now once this is in place.”

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