Your property tax bill arrived this week. That means it’s time to talk about parking minimums.
And to prove I’m not crazy after writing those last two sentences (and passionately believing it) is going to take some explaining.
First, what are parking minimums?
They are part of our zoning law that says when you build or update a building, you have to build parking spaces, too. There’s a huge table in our code (Article 6) that tells us what we have to do.
An example: if you build a grocery store, you have to add 3 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of store space. And so on, and so on.
How does it affect our property taxes? It forces a whole bunch of our land to be used for cars and parking.
Now that you know about them, you’ll start noticing it. As you’re out and about, compare the size of the buildings you visit to the size of their parking lots. The parking lots are usually bigger.
One of the problems (there are several) with this is parking lots are not valued the same as building improvements — which means they contribute less tax revenue to our tax pool.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. And some cities are starting to get smart. Edmonton is one example. They revoked their parking minimums in 2020. Want to see what happened? Check out the article below from the CBC.
And some good news: Minot reduced our parking minimums with our last zoning code revision in 2021. And Central Business District zoned properties are excused from parking minimums. This is good. Can we do better?
Cover photo: A Minot retail parking lot on Black Friday, 2019, typically the busiest shopping day of the year. By Josh Wolsky