The Riverton City Council approved a new ordinance on first reading Tuesday that will let developers build covered parking structures in multi-family residential zones.
Currently, covered parking structures count as buildings, meaning they take away space that could otherwise accommodate housing and other construction, community development director Michael Miller said.
Under the new ordinance, Miller said, developers will be able to build covered parking structures without detracting from their 50 percent lot usage allowance.
Councilmember Kyle Larson called it a “good deal.”
“It adds value,” he said. “This is a good idea.”
Covered parking garages must be used exclusively for parking or storage of vehicles, and they have to be open on two or more sides, according to the ordinance.
“A side is considered open when the total area of the distributed openings are not less than 50 percent of the exterior projected area,” the ordinance states.
The ordinance also requires covered parking spaces to have “an engineered or standard approved foundation design” and to “meet or exceed wind and snow loading per local design criteria.”
The council approved other revisions to the city’s multi-family (R-4) zoning code on first reading Tuesday in an attempt to more “clearly define what is allowed” in those areas.
The revisions simply eliminate confusion and do not actually change any of the regulations governing R-4 zones, Miller said.
More substantive changes could be coming in the future, however, after the Riverton Planning Commission completes its review of parking requirements in multi-family zones.
Miller said parking is “one of the largest problems that we have with multi-family dwellings in the city of Riverton right now.”
“There are a lot of multi-family dwellings (that) do not have proper parking, and they occupy streets,” he said. “If you go and talk to the people that live in those neighborhoods … they have a problem with people parking in front of their house 365 days a year.”
The city can’t do much to address the issue in areas where multi-family developments already exist, Miller said, but moving forward, Riverton could require developers to provide more off-street parking in R-4 zones – and possibly other areas.
The city council asked the planning commission to look into potential changes to R-4 zoning requirements earlier this year.
Since then, the planning commission has formed an R-4 committee that is now ready to “try to attack the parking issue,” committee member Bethany Baldes said.
For more information call Riverton City Hall at 856-2227.