Earlier this month, the Hartford Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously on a revised zoning code that lets builders forgo parking citywide.
In what many urbanists will consider a victory, the city of Hartford, Connecticut has abandoned parking minimums on new construction. This follows a similar decision by Buffalo, New York in January 2017.
Angie Schmitt writes, "The Hartford legislation goes farther than Buffalo's in some ways, with fewer loopholes. (In Buffalo, the City Council can still decide to require parking through a review process for projects larger than 5,000 square feet.) But because parking mandates for car dealerships are Connecticut state law, those minimums remain in the Hartford code. Other special uses, like stadiums, will be subject to case-by-case review."
According to Sara Bronin, who chairs Hartford's Planning and Zoning Commission, eliminating parking mandates downtown has made it easier for developers to rehabilitate buildings there. That decision came two years before the citywide rule change.
"The reforms are expected to reduce housing costs, cut traffic, and reduce harmful runoff. About 42 percent of Hartford is impermeable surfaces, says Bronin, which contributes to water pollution and the urban heat island effect."
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