Tuesday, July 19, 2011

BZA Decisions Contributed Mightily To Broad Ripple Parking Situation

The decisions of the Boards of Zoning Appeals have contributed significantly to any shortage of parking spaces in Broad Ripple.

A cursory look at variances granted by the BZA for Broad Ripple addresses demonstrates at least 226 spaces written off.  A 2007 study concluded that a particular 6 block area of Broad Ripple had a deficit of 132 parking spaces at 11 pm on weekends (adequate at all other times) and projected to have a deficit of 180 parking spaces at 11 pm on weekends in the future.

The idea for linkage between BZA decisions to reduce the required number of parking spaces and any perception of need for Broad Ripple parking spots came from Broad Ripple resident and neighborhood activist, Clarke Kahlo.

My first stop was to the City's GIS mapping function.  Below is a display of variances granted in the Broad Ripple area.  These variances are for any number of requests, not just to reduce the number of required parking spaces.

To begin an examination of the BZA/BR parking correlation, I plugged a set of street addresses into the City's "Citizen's Portal".  I searched for variances for 515-927 Westfield, 700-1000 Broad Ripple, and 6200-6400 for N. College, Guilford, Carrollton, and Winthrop Avenues.  I could get no information about Broad Ripple Avenue variances; the two word name is likely the problem as the City's GIS map shows multiple variances on that street segment.  The reports generated included brief descriptions of the variances requested.  While many of the descriptions included a reference to reduced parking, I report below only those that gave both the number requested/approved and the number required by ordinance.

#StreetCase #App'dReq'dDiff

It will take more time to follow up on all of the variances reported for these streets and to get the information for Broad Ripple Avenue.  But, clearly, the data are sufficient to conclude that had the BZA's be more strict and denied variances for parking spaces in this area, there would be no perceived need for a new parking garage and no need for a $6.35 million taxpayer subsidy.

1 comment:

Cortellini said...

Although it is difficult to quantify, the numbers are much worse because of a practice that can only be described as a shell game. For several decades, and it may still be continuing today, if a new business wanted to locate in Broad Ripple and lacked sufficient parking according to zoning requirements, it could rent the deficit spaces from a business that had a surplus. This practice was acceptable to the zoning board and avoided the necessity for a variance. The difficulty, which became a standing joke among Broad Ripple business owners, is that the zoning board had no mechanism to keep track of or enforce these arrangements. Thus the same available spaces were rented over and over again, sometimes simultaneously, to multiple businesses. This is a good example of how the good old boy network of doing business with our city agencies frustrates and confounds the law at the expense of our Communities.