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Parking for Multi-Family Housing with Public Funding or Public Programs

Parking for Multi-Family Housing with Public Funding or Public Programs

Janis Kent, FAIA Architect, CASp © September, 2019

Parking for multi-family housing can be one of the more perplexing items for scoping. The easy part is, if you have one space per unit, then you need one accessible parking space per mobility feature unit, and it should be located as close as feasible to each of the mobility units. But how to determine the requirements in other situations is not laid out as clearly. 

If you have less than one parking space per unit there is no specific direction, but a recommendation would be to use Table 208.2 to determine the requirements. California has adopted this method for calculation. 

If you have more than one space per unit, you would provide the requirements of one accessible space for mobility unit and then calculate 2% based on the number of spaces in excess of one per unit. 

Once you determine the number of accessible spaces you would apply the 1 out of 6 requirement for van accessible spaces. But this is a minimum. If you have some spaces that are in a carport vs open space on-grade vs a garage, you would need to scope the van requirement for each of these areas. In other words you would need to scope each parking type separately. This is also true if you have different parking facilities. So although you would not need more than the required number of accessible spaces you might need more van accessible spaces. 

Related: Read more articles about accessibility for multi-family residential and site elements

Signage and demarcations are also an issue. If an accessible space is reserved for a specific tenant then this is not required – there is an exception. If signage was placed on the space or an ISA striped on-grade, then anyone with a placard could park there. If state required on-grade markings are striped, they can be seen as delineating an accessible parking space that is not fully compliant and still park there. So provide tenant identification on an accessible space saying it is reserved for that tenant. The space and access aisle should be the compliant width and meet the requirements for slope, height clearance, adjacency to an accessible route, and state requirements for length.

The above is for tenant parking only, not guest or employee parking which each use the Table for scoping purposes, and if located in separate parking facilities or separately designated areas, are to be scoped separately. The other item to be aware of is, the above is a minimum calculation. If the multi-family housing project meets the requirements for covered housing under FHA, then more accessible parking may be required as a reasonable accommodation. This is by request of a tenant and may be a space near their entrance, or it may mean a slightly different sized space, or could be a full-on Accessible van space depending on the needs of the specific tenant.

The above is parking for projects that have public programs or funding. If a multi-family housing project is totally privately funded this will be based on local codes and might depend upon whether parking spaces are assigned or unassigned or are for visitors. There would still be the requirement for reasonable accommodation as requested by a tenant. And one other item to note, if there are any electric vehicle charging stations this would be scoped separately from the parking, although there might be some exceptions if it is assigned to a specific tenant. This would be per local codes at this point in time.

Be aware that your local City or County may have additional requirements that are more restrictive than the State or Federal requirements. Also, this article is an interpretation and opinion of the writer. It is meant as a summary – current original regulations should always be reviewed when making any decisions.

© Janis Kent, Architect, FAIA, CASp September, 2019

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