*Stacked parking example-2.jpeg

The tandem, or stacked, parking code amendment that passed this week will allow designated valets to park customers’ cars bumper-to-bumper in a tight arrangement that may require the moving of several cars to allow one car to exit. The option is available now for large downtown projects that need help meeting parking requirements.

Tandem, stacked valet parking is officially an option for large new downtown commercial developments.

Council members on Monday finally came to a consensus on a code amendment to allow developers of projects in the downtown and upper downtown districts that require 100 spaces or more to meet 20 percent of their parking obligations with stacked spaces staffed by a designated valet and comprehensive parking system.

The amendment originated from the developers of a Margaritaville resort planned for the oceanside of Baltimore Avenue between 13th and 14th streets. The 13-story project needs a sizable amount of parking and developers plan to meet some of the requirement with valet stacked spaces.

The concept entails having a valet park customers’ cars bumper-to-bumper in a tight arrangement that may require moving several cars to allow one car to exit. City code currently does not allow that type of parking at commercial properties, only residential.

While the Margaritville request was the catalyst for the amendment, city planning officials determined it could also apply to several other projects planned for the downtown area, such as the planned redevelopment of the Lankford Hotel between Eighth and Ninth streets on the Boardwalk, the future expansion of the Cambria Hotel along the bay on St. Louis Avenue, and the construction of a hotel proposed for a high-profile inlet lot.

Council President Matt James, who was the lone vote against the request Monday, consistently opposed it because he said he wanted it applied to the entire resort, not just downtown. Planning officials will likely introduce another version of the amendment for the rest of the city, but have said it could look different.

Mayor Rick Meehan also opposed the final version of the request, but for a different reason.

In the original version of the amendment, a line was included that would have required the planning commission to weigh in on projects early in the review process. After some tweaking, at the request of Councilman Peter Buas, the latest version removed that line.

Most of the other council members agreed with the change, but Meehan was adamantly against it and reiterated that stance Monday.

The council’s approval now makes the stacked parking option available for commercial developments that apply.

This story appears in the July 22, 2022 print edition of the OC Today.

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