The Urban Design Forum has submitted in opposition to an Appeal by the supermarket chains and other “big box” retailers seeking to re-impose Minimum Parking Requirements on the town centres that they regularly abandon when they set up, for instance, a new PaknSave on a nearby traffic arterial.
The “Key Retail” Group’s appeal was only possible under the Auckland Unitary Plan legislation because the Council (the respondent) chose to stick with their originally notified intention to dispense with minimum parking requirements, despite the Hearing Panel’s recommendation that the requirements be re-instated for retail and commercial floorspace. The Panel had been persuaded by the “Key Retail” Group that their precious carparks would be over-run by motorists, who would then wander down the main street to spend their money at a café which had no obligation to build carparks of its own.
We believe that the appeal is not about managing their carparks - it’s about preserving the competitive advantage for their car-based development model over traditional (and stagnating) mainstreet centres. Removing the requirement to provide parking in centres could well be the game-breaker that enables intensive redevelopment with mixed-use residential to start happening. That’s more likely to be what the “Key Retail” Group are worried about, rather than managing their carparks against people who may want to do some comparison shopping.
We opposed the Appeal on the basis that “the imposition of Minimum Parking Requirements imposes unnecessary costs on developers, results in poor design outcomes, and is contrary to the principles of a free market.” In the case of many mainstreet properties, also, it is physically impossible to meet the parking requirements because traffic geometry doesn’t fit within the dimensions or shape.
We lodged as a s274 party to the Appeals in association with the NZIA and Generation Zero. The risks are zero, because our position is not as extreme as the respondent Auckland Council, who are additionally trying to impose maximum parking requirements. We just want to leave it to the market :-)