City council considers ending minimum parking space requirement on new builds
TORONTO -- Toronto City Council is considering removing a requirement that requires developers to build a minimum number of parking spaces in new condos.
Those in favour say the requirement can lead to an overbuilding of parking and that eliminating the minimum will help propel the city into the future by reducing the costly construction of underground parking.
Moreover, they argue the move will allow for more affordable housing to be built faster, and by making it more difficult to park, people will be encouraged to take transit, ride share or bike, and reduce traffic congestion and emissions.
The city hasn’t verified the data but says the Building Industry and Land Development Association showed about one third of parking spots didn’t sell.
“There’s already a trend in the industry, that amount of parking necessitated by the bylaw that is out of touch and is actually asking for more parking than what the market is asking for,” said Paul De Berardis with the Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON).
At the same time, a parking space can be an expensive piece of real estate in Toronto. The city said a space in a typical development in Toronto is believed to cost between $48,000 and $160,000 to construct.
“The further down you go to build underground parking the more expensive it gets so this is expensive, it’s also bad for the environment, adds embodied carbon,” said Matti Siemiatycki, director of the Infrastructure Institute at the University of Toronto.
“As they save money, they will pass it on to the buyer, some will try to put it in their pockets as profit, this is how a market with a lot of units will find its equilibrium.”
But some aren’t convinced the savings will be passed on to buyers.
“I’m concerned developers will say I don’t have to buy that and be selling units at exactly the same cost,” said City Councillor Paula Fletcher in a planning meeting on Nov. 25.
The Federation of South Toronto Residents’ Association (FoSTRA) works with dozens of residents’ groups south of Bloor Street. It believes about 30 per cent of vacant spaces are in the core and then points to Liberty Village where parking is very tight.
“There needs to be a lot more evidence-based research done by people who aren’t vested in the outcome to make sure its a planned approach by the community instead of a one size fits all solution,” Chair Rick Green told CTV News Toronto.
FoSTRA adds without looking closely at the minimums requirements, more vehicles could be pushed to park on city streets.
City council will consider the change December 15.