By Stefanie Jackson – Cape Charles Town Planner Zach Ponds presented town council with a proposed update to the town’s ordinance regarding off-street parking, with the intent of providing more benefits than simply giving drivers alternatives to parking on the street.
“It helps create a more walkable community, prioritizes pedestrian safety, enhances multi-modal transportation opportunities, enhances the aesthetics of the town, promotes good health for citizens and visitors, promotes economic growth, and helps manage soil and water runoff,” Ponds said at the Nov. 21 meeting.
The updated requirements would apply to new businesses and parking areas.
Parking lots would not be allowed in front of businesses, allowing pedestrians to pass by safely, without crossing a vehicle entrance.
Instead, parking areas should be located to the rear of the building. Ponds mentioned the post office on Randolph Avenue as an example.
“It’s really hard to tell that there’s even parking at that post office, because it’s so well-hidden,” he said.
The purpose of the change is “to not cater more towards the automobile, to cater more towards the pedestrian, which I think is one of the things that drew me to Cape Charles,” Ponds said.
“This is really traditional neighborhood development,” hearkening back to a time before the automobile, “getting back to that tradition,” he said.
Another proposed change is requiring all commercial parking areas to be paved and allowing the use of permeable pavers.
There would be no new unmarked parking lots that make it difficult for the driver to discern the location of the driveway and parking spaces.
New parking lots of 20 or more spaces also would have minimum landscaping requirements. There may not be a row of more than 10 parking spaces without a landscape island in the middle, which should contain at least one tree.
The idea is to “break up that long row of parking” with landscaping that provides a natural aesthetic while allowing stormwater drainage.
Other requirements include one U-rack bicycle space for every 20 parking spaces, or a minimum of three bicycle spaces per location, and standard dimensions for golf cart parking spaces.
The presentation was for informational purposes only, to be voted on by the town council at a later date.