LAYTON -- Parking lots for big-box stores in this community need not be so big and boxy in the future.
City leaders, at a recent city council meeting, amended the formula for how much parking space is required for home-
improvement stores, which could allow a new development in the northeast corner of the Lowe's parking lot on Antelope Drive.
The new formula specifically affects Lowe's and the Home Depot stores in Layton.
Officials from Lowe's have been involved in discussions about reducing the parking requirements with city officials since 2012. Lowe's hired a Utah engineering company to do studies of parking at the store to show that the city's old parking requirements left too much room for parking, which was never fully utilized, even in the peak seasons of the year.
The Lowe's parking lot currently contains 474 parking stalls, based on a formula where two spaces are required per gross square feet of floor space; plus, space is tied to outdoor space. The study found that, even during the peak seasons, the parking lot only had up to 330 vehicles. In most cases, almost half of the parking lot was vacant.
With the new parking formula in place, Lowe's will be in a position to sell or lease as much as 6,800 feet of the northeast corner of the parking lot for a new development, said Bill Wright, director of community and economic development.
The amended parking-requirement formula would leave 236 parking stalls for Lowe's, with 34 stalls for any new businesses located in the parking lot. The planning commission has already reviewed and approved the change in parking guidelines.
The new formula requires two parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area, plus one space per 1,000 feet of gross floor area for an associated seasonal garden retail area. The old formula called for five parking places per 1,000 feet of retail area, but Wright said the change is not as dramatic as it seems on paper, once the outdoor retail area is factored in.
Councilwoman Joyce Brown wanted to make sure the amended rules wouldn't mean parking would spill over into other areas, such as Antelope Drive, which runs along the northern perimeter of the store.
Wright said parking would still not be allowed on Antelope Drive nor on Woodlawn Park, which runs along the eastern side of the facility.