Columbus cuts parking space requirements downtown

I’ve been talking about how zoning has rendered some buildings worthless- like the tall beautiful building to the left of Newcomes in the Oregon District – for years. You can’t use the building if you don’t have parking within 250′- and you can’t get parking at a reasonable price- because of the historic overlay which means no tearing down anything.

Result: deadlock.

I only have a conditional use in my building- because I don’t have 4 private parking spaces for my 1,500 sq feet. Everyone will tell you that my office is a boon to South Park- and the parking spaces on the street aren’t an issue. (The vacant shell that I bought was an issue though).

Reader Brian, sent a note that Columbus changed its rules about parking requirements (imagine that) for downtown:

legislation approved last night to reduce the number of spaces required at shopping centers, restaurants and office buildings. And for the first time, the city will require developers to include bicycle racks outside nearly every type of business.”It’s a significant change,” said City Councilwoman Priscilla R. Tyson, who sponsored the plan. City Council members passed the plan unanimously.

via City eases rule for parking lots | Columbus Dispatch Politics.

We’re still not even having a discussion. And while parking downtown is often cited as an obstacle to businesses- we’ve done nothing to work with parking lot owners to standardize signage- rates- as they’ve done in Cincy. This is also an issue I’ve talked about for years.

If you wonder why things don’t change downtown- maybe it’s because we don’t have people thinking about change, unless you call moving to 2 way streets a big idea.

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GeneBubba JonestruddickDavid EsratiRobert Vigh Recent comment authors
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Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

What exactly is the purpose of the government forcing someone to have X # of parking spaces for their business? I mean if I want to open a grocery store with no parking spaces at all, then I am either a fool or plan on taking care of walkers, cyclers and making deliveries.
Property being protected by the government for historic purposes is a whole other intervention that seems ridiculous to me. What purpose does the preservation of an old building serve? I mean seriously, snap a picture, throw it on a website and let someone buy it.


I’m with Robert.  When a building has been vacant for decades, is really nothing unusual or special, and is starting to crumble–it’s time to find an owner who will promise to fix up (and follow up to make sure they do) or tear down.

Jay Madewell
Jay Madewell

Change “parking spaces” to “bike rack spaces”; is there a clear legal definition on what a “parking space” is? what would’ve happened if, by now, we no longer needed parking spaces (flying cars, rocket packs, EVERYONE traveling on bikes, etc.). think about it in those terms. there’s so much outdated code…

Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

Truddick, thank you for the agreement, but why add the part where we have to follow up? I mean sell it to a private owner and be done with it. If that owner wants to let it sit, then he is wasting his capital and the city is not wasting theirs. If he wants to tear it down and build something or fix it up, it is all the owners capital and vision. The city and citizens are off the hook and likelihood of capital investment is increased.

What I would envision as method to purchase a city owned historic building:
1) Contact the city about the property.
2) Go to meetings and meet commissioners about what can be down with the historic building.
3) Petition to be allowed to tear it down
4) Acquire permits and zoning to actually tear it down
5) Fight for building and zoning permits to build new business
6) Acquire business license, permission from city and implement adequate parking

Or, get rid of so many zoning and historic laws and make it more like:
1) City auctions building
2) Buyer does whatever.

How many people have the wherewithal and energy to properly go through the first sequence? We have automatically created a barrier to market, lowering the demand on the city property. In turn this lowers its value.

Heck, drop the zoning, auction the building for increased value and let a citizen(s) invest their capital. Everybody wins.

Civil Servants are People, Too
Civil Servants are People, Too

Why have historic zoning?  Compare Historic South Park to Twin Towers and tell me which neighborhood has faired better since 1970.      There you go.

Historic buildings not only have tangible market value, at least for some people, but they are also preserving our shared hertitage and tell the story of our communities.    Once gone, they can’t be replaced.

So how does the Columbus standard compare to Dayton?    Saying it went down only tells part of the story, if it was already higher.   It would be interesting to compare all of Ohio’s big cities.


Robert Vigh
Robert Vigh

CSAPT: Here we go, lets have a historic society and employ people to oversee this society and employ more people to enforce this society. All the while the city is not using capital, infringing on property, preventing zoning and coding issues etc. And you wonder why city government is bigger.

You prop one example to show your case. It cannot be determined if SP would be better off now if it was not zoned historic. You also cannot know if it would have naturally stayed historic because destruction and recreation is expensive. All that you know is an area did well and you have no ability to show if historic zoning played any effect.

Tangible market value to some people is exactly my point. They should buy those buildings and maintain them and rent them as they see fit. Why has the city created a zone especially for people of a certain interest and force everyone to contribute? This is wrong in so many ways. The historic society should be a private organization that chooses to own these properties, not be in cahoots with the government to force their will. It is a paradoy of lobbyist.


Robert, I only want follow-up because I’ve seen to much slumlordery.
As for historical designations–I thought this nation was based on equality.  I half a mile from South Park; why don’t I get a break?
And it occurs to me that downtown locations were NOT required to provide parking–if they’re the Shuster Center, 5/3 Field, Southern Belle, or for that matter the (hoping soon) renovated Arc de Square.  (At least the new owners have put that ‘a’ back).
I want less of the sets of laws that benefit the few.


Hm, I didn’t notice so many writing errors when I posted that one–I think my keyboard is dying.

Bubba Jones
Bubba Jones

I can tell you South Park would be a mess if not for the historic zoning.” <— DE….
Yup!  Without historic zoning restrictions, rouge homeowners would be putting up non-conforming garage doors!!


Bubba, the funny thing about DE statement above is that it is so arrogant.  “I can tell you…” Well, if he says so. When did he become an expert?
Keep on growing the cancer. Lord knows trying to kill it won’t help.

Typical liberal thought follows in the next two examples:

Maybe we need laws to track all college students so they don’t kill coeds? Most of us heard about the Virginia LaX player killing a coed.  And then a teacher kills a coed, then we need laws to track all teachers…. then a janitor, so all staff, then a clerk at a nearby gas station does it, so round up everyone in the city…. then a drifter from two states over, and then and then….

Or the “law” on properly contacting next of kin…. is this needed? I mean this lady in Ohio is so upset about someone telling her over the phone, did she forget she lost her son…..

Examples of our cancer “taking care of us.” Please………