By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Parking requirements continue to cause zoning issues in Bowling Green.
An apartment complex proposal, previously rejected for not having enough parking, was resubmitted and granted a waiver by the city’s zoning appeal board on Wednesday
The project still did not meet current parking requirements, but it was changed enough that council approved it this time around.
Bowling Green’s planning director Heather Sayler explained that the city’s parking requirements are among many issues addressed in the city’s zoning code update.
Sayler said the zoning code update contemplates the reduction in parking spaces required with residential and commercial developments. The city currently has “very, very extreme parking requirements,” she explained.
The proposed 96-unit apartment complex is planned by Wallick Communities on property owned by Lloyd and Linda Fite in the 900 block of South Main Street. The property is bordered by the CSX lanes to the east and the existing apartment complexes in the 200 and 300 blocks of Napoleon Road to the north.
The project was presented to the zoning board in June 2021. At this stage, plans called for 202 parking spaces – rather than the 358 spaces required for this size of complex.
The property is already zoned R-3 for multi-family residences – but developers said the variance was needed to make the project affordable.
In the new proposal, the developer has not reduced the number of apartments and the plan still violates the maximum land coverage, with the complex covering 50% of the property instead of the 40% maximum in the zoning code.
However, this time around the proposal squeezed 223 parking spaces, still short of the required 358.
But the zoning board agreed on Wednesday that the 2.17 parking spaces per apartment were acceptable.
The 16 one-bedroom apartments, 44 two-bedroom apartments and 36 three-bedroom apartments are aimed at the target population of local labor residents, rather than students, according to Wallick Communities’ Jimmy McCune.
“We would never propose a project that doesn’t have enough parking,” McCune told the zoning board.
The data shows Wood County is short of affordable rental housing, McCune said. The developer has already received state tax credits to help with the project.
“I have never seen so much data showing that there is a need for affordable housing,” he said. “Demand is off the charts.”