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Scrap minimum parking rules for new Surrey housing along rapid transit motion denied

Getting rid of these requirements, Coun. Linda Annis reasons, will speed up development approvals for new housing and make homes more affordable
Linda Annis in Surrey. (Photo: Anna Burns)

Surrey Councillor Linda Annis called for the city to scrap minimum parking requirements for new housing developments and not-for-profit housing along rapid transit routes but Mayor Brenda Locke denied her notice of motion on Monday.

“I’m not going to allow this motion to go forward,” Locke said. “The reality is that while the NDP government has recently passed their housing legislation they have indicated that the required policies that will accompany their new legislation will not be released until the new year so I feel it is unnecessary to be directing staff to do this work as it may well misalign with what the provincial requirements either are or are not so I think it would be prudent not to do that at this time.”

Annis reasoned that getting rid of these minimum parking requirements would speed up development approvals for new housing and make homes more affordable.

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Annis also issued a press release noting that building on-site parking can cost $50,000 or more per stall.

“At the same time, planning and excavation for an underground garage add to the time it takes to approve and build a project, something we all want to streamline and shorten,” Annis stated in her press release. “The fact is, when it comes to cars and transit, times are changing, and forcing minimum parking requirements on new development projects means unnecessary added costs for homeowners who are looking for more affordability.”

She says while accessible spots for people with disabilities, visitor spaces and loading zones should still be required, “when a project is on a transit route the minimum number of spots should no longer be required, which would reduce the number of spots and reduce the price of a home.

“It’s time to take a second look at these parking minimums, particularly along transit routes where changes in demand should dictate the number of parking spots,” she said. “The whole idea of a transit-centred neighbourhood is to reduce the need for cars and encourage walkability.”

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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