Proposed East Franklinton plan would charge developers fees for not building enough parking
With more development projected for growingly popular East Franklinton, Columbus officials are working on a parking plan where developers in the future would pay fees if they don't provide enough parking for their projects.
The Columbus Development Commission will take up those ideas Thursday.
According to the plan, residential and commercial developers would have to pay a one-time fee of $15,000 per parking space if they don't meet city requirements for parking. But there would be a cap as to how much a developer would pay, said Amanda Ford, a manager with the city's parking services section.
It would cover only future development, and would not be retroactive to projects already announced, she said, such as developments now rising on the Scioto Peninsula just west of COSI.
Affordable housing projects also may receive breaks in fees if they don't meet parking standards, she said.
Ford said the East Franklinton Review Board and Franklinton Area Commission support the proposal, adding that there has been no real pushback from developers such as Nationwide Realty Investors, which owns property in the area, and Kaufman Development, which is already building the Gravity project of apartments and offices in eastern Franklinton.
The three districts where this parking plan would be implemented are roughly bounded by Route 315 to the west, a rail line north of Scott Street and West Broad Street to the north, Lucas Street and a rail line to the east, and the Scioto River and Interstates 70 and 71 to the south.
>>TO VIEW THIS MAP ONLINE: Go to https://www.columbus.gov/publicservice/parking/PROPOSED-E--FRANKLINTON-SPECIAL-PARKING-AREA/ , scroll down the page to "DRAFT East Franklinton proposed parking code changes, click here," and then go to page 10 of that document.
It's an area that's becoming more popular as a place to live, eat and drink, with apartment developments such as River and Rich and Land Grant Brewing Company.
Bill Fergus, who leads the East Franklinton Review Board, called it a workable plan. He said development can be choked off if there isn't enough parking in a neighborhood.
"We've been concerned consistently about parking, but at the same time understand the city's position that a dense, walkable neighborhood is their goal," Fergus said.
Trent Smith, executive director of the Franklinton Board of Trade, said when he served on the East Franklinton Review Board, nearly all the developers were asking for some sort of parking reduction.
Smith said he has received calls from residents concerned about this plan. "Current residents will not be impacted by this," he said. "This is about new development, holding developers accountable."
Money from the fees would go into a fund and be used for increasing the parking supply, paying for signing and marketing for parking options, paying for technology such as mobile payment and license plate recognition cameras for parking, and for promoting other types of transportation, such as bicycling and public transit.
"Ideally, you don’t want a fund. You want to provide enough parking spaces," Ford said. "If it does generate money, it stays within East Franklinton. It can’t be spent anywhere else."
Also, the city code would be changed so developers would be required to provide shade trees in parking lots with more than 10 spaces, and landscaping and screening in general for lots.
Ford said if the city Development Commission approves, the plan would then go before Columbus City Council. If council approves, the plan could be implemented by May. The city also plans to add paid on-street parking to some East Franklinton streets by May, she said.
The city has already created plans to deal with parking problems in the Short North and Downtown.
The city Development Commission will also hear plans to redevelop a Giant Eagle site near German Village into apartments.
The 2.34-acre site at 280 E. Whittier St. would hold 263 apartments. Neighborhood leaders and residents have complained that the proposed project is too big and tall for the site and does not fit in with the area.