The City of Bismarck’s Community Development Department Planning Division will host a public meeting to provide information and seek input on proposed revisions to the City’s off-street parking and loading requirements. The meeting will be held on Thursday, March 12, from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., in the Tom Baker Meeting Room in the City-County Office Building, 221 N Fifth Street, Bismarck.
A brief presentation outlining the proposed changes will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by a question and answer session. Planning Division staff will be available to answer questions. Members of the public are invited to attend. Proposed revisions include reformatting the Off-Street Parking and Loading section in the zoning ordinance.
Parking is a subject that has direct and indirect influence on a number of areas ranging from the provision of affordable housing to reductions in storm water runoff impacts. Additionally, these revisions to existing requirements are being proposed to prepare for changes to mobility demands, reduce the number of requested variances from the City’s zoning ordinance for off-street parking, and to align with current and anticipated development trends with the goal of “right sizing” parking requirements such that new development projects are neither under or over-parked.
Variance requests can be an indicator of needed revisions to the zoning ordinance. A variance is a request to vary from current zoning requirements. It is not a change in the zoning law, but instead requests a specific waiver of requirements of the zoning ordinance. Requests to reduce off-street parking and loading requirements are one of the more common variance requests the Board of Adjustment considers. Roughly 22% of all variances requested in the past five years, are related to off-street parking and loading requirements. Through the variance process, there has been a reduction of approximately 1,200 Off-Street parking spaces since 2014.
The first off-street parking and loading requirements for Bismarck appeared in the 1953 Zoning Ordinance. Periodic changes have occurred over the years to keep pace with development trends. Modifications to the existing off-street parking requirements have also been identified as implementation strategies in the Infill and Redevelopment Plan and the Strategic Plan.
A stakeholder group comprised of industry professionals including, engineers, realtors, developers and City staff was created to help draft the proposed ordinance. The stakeholder group also includes a member of the Bismarck Board of Adjustment, a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Mayor. Planning staff began working with the stakeholder group in the fall of 2019.
For more information, visit www.bismarcknd.gov.