Public Benefit for Parking Removal Defined

The definition of “community benefit” –  when it comes to evaluating the elimination of on-street parking spaces in downtown Ann Arbor – will include new developments that meet or exceed goals laid out in various existing plans or public health and safety codes. The only specific planning documents mentioned in the community-benefit policy – adopted by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development board at its April 2, 2014 meeting – are the DDA’s development plan and the city’s non-motorized plan. [.pdf of policy considered at April 2, 2014 DDA board meeting]

If the removal of an on-street parking space does not provide a community benefit, then a developer is required to pay $45,000 per space, as well as the amount of projected revenue the space would generate over the next 10 years. That was the policy adopted by the Ann Arbor city council at its Jan. 6, 2014 meeting. The council left some flexibility in the fee policy, which allowed for some discretion to apply the fee or not, if a community benefit were provided by the removal of a space. The definition of “community benefit” was left for the DDA to determine. It’s in that context that the DDA board’s April 2 action was taken.

The council’s determination of the fee amount came four years after the DDA had made a recommendation on the fee policy:

Thus it is recommended that when developments lead to the removal of on-street parking meter spaces, a cost of $45,000/parking meter space (with annual CPI increases) be assessed and provided to the DDA to set aside in a special fund that will be used to construct future parking spaces or other means to meet the goals above. [.pdf of meeting minutes with complete text of March 4, 2009 DDA resolution]

To press the council to act on the issue, a clause was incorporated into the 2011 extension of the contract under which the DDA manages the city of Ann Arbor’s parking system:

The City shall work collaboratively with the DDA to develop and present for adoption by City Council a City policy regarding the permanent removal of on-street metered parking spaces. The purpose of this policy will be to identify whether a community benefit to the elimination of one or more metered parking spaces specific area(s) of the City exists, and the basis for such a determination. If no community benefit can be identified, it is understood and agreed by the parties that a replacement cost allocation methodology will need to be adopted concurrent with the approval of the City policy; which shall be used to make improvements to the public parking or transportation system.

Under the terms of the 2011 contract, the DDA pays the city of Ann Arbor 17% of gross parking revenues.

This brief was filed from the DDA offices at 150 S. Fifth Ave., where the DDA board holds its meetings. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]