Urbana council gives initial OK to lowering parking-rate requirements

Urbana council gives initial OK to lowering parking-rate requirements

URBANA — The city council gave its initial approval Monday to decreasing the parking-space requirement for multi-family residential buildings.

All of the council members approved the change except for Aldermen Maryalice Wu, Jared Miller and Dean Hazen. The requirement now is to have one parking space per bedroom for single-bedroom apartments. This change would take that down to 0.7 spaces per bedroom.

City planner Kevin Garcia initially proposed a decrease to 0.5 spaces, but some aldermen were wary of that cut being too big. Garcia reasoned that his initial choice wouldn't reduce parking in areas where more parking is needed.

The reasoning for decreasing the parking requirement at all, Garcia said, is because it makes it more expensive to provide single-bedroom apartments in high-demand areas and not all of the required parking is used.

In other business, police Chief Sylvia Morgan gave an update Monday on efforts to hire a more-diverse force. She said there have been five recent officer hires, three of whom are white women and two of whom are black men.

Those hires bring the force to full strength, Morgan said, after a period of officers stretched thin to cover for retirements and injuries. The force was expanded by two people last February after a proposal from former Mayor Laurel Prussing.

In other business, the council gave unanimous initial approval to an agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation. The agreement is to resurface Cunningham Avenue from University Avenue to north of Interstate 74 and bring its sidewalk ramps into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Urbana TIF funds would contribute $180,101 to the estimated $800,000 project, according to a city document.

Also included in the project's construction, which would occur this year, is creating a pedestrian and bicyclist pathway on the east side of Cunningham Avenue between Kenyon Road and Napleton Way.

"What a great accomplishment it is to get this path finally approved by IDOT," Alderman Dennis Roberts said. "It's something we've been waiting for for a long time."

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