Purchase photos

Commission changes parking rules

1/10/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

The Hays City Commission updated parking regulations at its Thursday meeting.

I.D. Creech, director of public works, said the new ordinance would allow city staff to consider an alternative method to determine the minimum number of parking spaces a site needs. Rather than strictly following the building's size, the site's occupancy could be an alterative factor. Reducing storm water runoff, costs and wasted space were among the rule's benefits listed.

"This is not an automatic procedure; we have parking regulations in place we expect to use," Creech said. "This could be an alternative if circumstances warrant consideration."

Those who pursue the special consideration would be vetted.

"Application, with good documentation, would have to be provided to the zoning administrator for his consideration, and the appeals process for the determination would follow the same manner as other regulations," Creech said.

The ordinance is intended to be for the short-term because a consultant will be hired this year to examine the city's zoning regulations. City staff wants to update the 1970s parking rules to reflect modern trends and the area's needs.

The measure passed in a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Henry Schwaller IV casting the dissenting vote. Schwaller said he was concerned about the appeal process.

Creech said if an individual is not satisfied with the zoning administrator's recommendation, the board of zoning appeals hears the concerns. If the review still is not agreeable, either party can appeal to district court.

Schwaller said personal conflicts in Hays' small population could lead to issues, and bigger retailers could take advantage of the alternative and build on top of needed parking spaces.

Creech said the higher standard for parking spaces still could be applied to prevent abusing the new rule.

* Commissioners unanimously voted to extend North Central Kansas Technical College's lease for the former Army Reserve facility for two years.

Mayor Kent Steward said NCKTC fulfills a vital role in the area.

"I'm really enthusiastic about this partnership going forward," he said.