OGDEN — After years of confusion in the interpretation and enforcement of the corresponding code, Ogden City is conducting a major overhaul of its residential parking ordinance.
Ogden’s Planning Department is proposing several amendments and clarifications to the parking standard — a sweeping plan that involves residential areas and the Central Business District, covering everything from recreational vehicle parking procedures to what kinds of materials city residents can use on their driveways.
Ogden Planning Manager Greg Montgomery briefed the city council on the plan during a work session two weeks ago, and the discussion continued during a Sept. 18. work session.
Montgomery said the bulk of the plan is aimed at clarity and uniformity. A Planning Department letter to the council says that through the years, “existing standards have been implemented and interpreted in very different ways,” which has “complicated code enforcement efforts and has created confusion.”
“We’ve said, ‘Why do we do that — some things just don’t make sense any more,’” Montgomery said. “Also as we look at code enforcement cases ... is there something we need to look at, changes we need to adapt to.”
A recent change in state law also includes a provision that mandates city code be clear and any discrepancy in interpretation will be awarded to applicants.
“It has to be clear and concise,” Montgomery said. “Otherwise, the project or whatever the approval is goes to the developer and how they interpret it.”
The new proposal clarifies when a parking reduction can be applied to multifamily housing units near a transit stop or the downtown Central Business District, which includes all properties from 20th to 27th streets between Wall and Adams avenues.
Typically, for multi-family housing facilities with more than four units, the city requires two parking stalls per unit. The new measure clarifies that only 1.5 parking stalls are required for such facilities if they are located in the CBD, or within 660 feet of it or a transit stop. The measurement is based on legal public walking distance.
Mayor Mike Caldwell’s administration has de-emphasized the need to build more parking complexes, instead asking Ogdenites to rely more on buses, trains, bicycles and other forms of active transportation.
The fledgling plan also includes in-depth sections describing standards for parking expansions, residential driveway designs and recreational vehicle parking on single-family lots.
Council member Ben Nadolski said he’s heard from Ogden residents who’ve had negative encounters with city code enforcement, squabbling with the staff over what they perceive as pedantic or heavy-handed application of the rules. The councilman said he hopes the new ordinance overhaul will indeed make things more straightforward than they have been previously.
“How do we allow common sense to prevail?” he said.