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Eugene must change its off-street parking requirements to comply with new state rules

Nathan Wilk
A parking lot in Eugene. Currently, buildings in most of the city must meet a minimum number of parking spaces based on size and use.

The City of Eugene must adjust its requirements for off-street parking in order to comply with new state rules meant to help cities reduce their carbon footprint.

In January, the state ruled that buildings near busy transit lines aren’t required to offer a minimum number of parking spaces. Eugene officials must now choose between several additional state plans to reduce off-street parking requirements for new development.

One possibility would be to repeal parking minimums entirely. Also on the table: exempting certain types of buildings or forcing landlords to charge separately for off-street parking.

“It's not going to be some overnight, big change to how much parking is provided," said Reid Verner, a Land Use Supervisor with the City of Eugene. "It’s going to be on a smaller basis.”

The new policy will reflect Oregon’s Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities rules, which are designed to make cities more walkable and help residents become less reliant on private vehicles.

Verner said so far, developers haven’t taken advantage of January’s changes. But he said there could be complications going forward if developers undershoot parking space while expecting tenants without cars.

For the most part, the additional changes would only apply to new buildings and expansion projects. City Council will vote on a final policy later this year.

Nathan Wilk is a freelance reporter and former reporting intern. He began in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon. He is a senior at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.