Parking Requirement Options Expanded

The City Council approved an amendment Wednesday to the Specific Plan for the Reseda Central Business District that it hopes will spur leasing activity in the area's commercial corridor by giving businesses more options to meet their parking requirements.

Two years ago, a city-conducted study found an abundance of parking in the Reseda business district, although it was unevenly distributed among properties.

Some lots had more parking spaces than needed; others had too few.

The plan, adopted in 1993, was amended Wednesday to allow new tenants to cast a wider net when looking to reserve parking spaces.

Instead of having parking within 750 feet of a store, businesses can look as far as 1,500 feet away from their property to reserve spaces for their customers.

"New businesses in the area were being hampered by the fact that they may not have adequate parking immediately adjacent to their stores," said Ken Bernstein, planning director for Councilwoman Laura Chick, who represents the area.

Although the amendment opens the door for businesses to share their resources, in practice it will be up to individual companies to negotiate parking contracts, officials said.

Business leaders said that Reseda will probably not have the parking wars that characterize many other Valley areas, since so many lots have excess spaces.

"This will be a big help to businesses in Reseda," said Ann Kinzle, executive director of the Reseda Chamber of Commerce. "Some businesses have no parking whatsoever behind their stores. All they have is street parking. Now [new tenants] can go to their neighbors to find spaces."

The businesses also will have the option to include nearby city-owned lots as part of their parking space count, Bernstein said.

According to Lease-On-Line, a nonprofit, centralized leasing office, the commercial vacancy rate in the area around Sherman Way and Reseda Boulevard is about 11%, down from 15% two years ago, but still higher than officials would like.

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