Parking Capacity Problems Solved (LEED credit SS4.4)

DRY POST ALERT - HUMOR LACKING BELOW

Back from break and working on some alternative transportation documentation for Sustainable Sites credit 4.4 - Alternative Transportation, Parking Capacity, I ran into trouble when the link in the reference guide to the Portland, Oregon zoning code (Title 33, Chapter 33.266 to be exact) was dead on arrival... After I found it I thought I would share the link with my faithful readers lest the same problem arise for you: here it is.

Once I solved that problem I ran into the problem of interpreting the code itself. The project I'm working on is a huge general office building in an area with no local zoning requirement for parking.  In that scenario, the LEED-NCv2.2 reference guide refers you to the Portland code mentioned above, or an ITE Parking Generation Study that you have to buy if the Portland code doesn't fit your project well enough.

I would normally regard this site as providing limited parking given the number of full time occupants (4 spaces for every 5 full-time workers), so I was surprised to find we still exceeded the minimum Portland code parking requirement by over 26%! See image below for allowances - "Standard A" is the minimum and "Standard B" is the maximum allowed...

Section of the referenced Portland Code

Section of the applicable Portland zoning code

We're pretty tight on points right now, so I instantly became worried.  The next thing I did was re-read the reference manual and was able to breathe a sigh of relief.  Unlike the normal requirement for option 1 where you are not to exceed the MINIMUM local parking requirements, the alternative method only requires you to meet the already stringent code, essentially only forcing you to provide less than the maximum allowable parking. Looking at it in this light, we were also 26% BELOW the maximum allowable parking, so we fell well within the requirement.

I looked for a CIR to confirm this interpretation, but have been unable to find one. The language seems very clear that you only need to meet the requirements ("Meet the requirements of Portland, Oregon, Zoning Code: Title 33, Chapter 33.266") instead of not exceeding the minimums, but I would love it if someone who has been through this issue before would leave a comment confirming my interpretation!

In other news, after a sizable break for the holidays I've got a good number of post ideas in the pipeline... Check back soon (and frequently) as Real Life LEED blasts into '09!

5 comments:

SallyTV said...

Oh man. This post was extra funny.

joelmckellar said...

It's not right to judge...

Anonymous said...

This post is so timely as I am currently dealing with this very credit. I am feeling too lazy to deal with the labyrinthine ways of the CIR pages and am hoping in your travels you may have encountered this scenario. Client is adding on to their facility and in the process eliminating a good portion of parking. So seems like a simple case of checking the box “no new parking” and moving on right? Well, the client advocate then sends me a document trying to go for an ID credit here and proceeds to show me an off-site lease they signed to a nearby parking authority. This effectively INCREASES the total parking available to the project. Here is the question. Do I now have to include the offsite parking as part of the total parking requirements for the project? The client does not own the lot and the spaces already existed. My INTENT meter says “yes, these need to be counted” and I already told them that “NO, you cannot count the shuttle bus from this lot to the facility as an additional bus route.” But this is seeming like one of those REALLY ambiguous areas in LEED that can cause headaches. I also know that some of the new reviewers are crazy difficult (personal experience lately) and I just don’t want to have to get into a proverbial pissing match with them over this. Any ideas?

joelmckellar said...

Insert usual caveat about "The following is only an opinion and I don't assure that any of the following strategies would actually work" here.

I would disagree about counting the parking. Though they have a lease for parking, as long as you're not constructing more parking there is a net reduction in parking availability in the region.

I would agree that a shuttle between the building and leased lot should not be considered as one of your bus routes. There have been CIRs that said that you can use a shuttle to connect to the necessary public transportation routes though, even if those public stops are outside of the 1/4 or 1/2 mile from your building.

Katy said...

I'm working on this issue now with a Core and Shell research building on a university campus. Question: does the Portland parking guide apply to Option 1 of the Core and Shell 2.0 system?