Parking Requirements Preventing Redevelopment and Reuse

What’s the Problem?

Communities trying to revitalize an existing downtown or neighborhood center or trying to encourage adaptive reuse of historic buildings may find that the combination of minimum parking requirements and constrained sites prevent these efforts from succeeding. The Cape Cod Commission offers some guidance on parking for historic and downtown sites in their model bylaws on Village Center zoning ( and guidance on Historic Preservation ( Additional strategies for removing parking as an obstacle to redevelopment and adaptive reuse are listed below.


  • Reduce or eliminate minimum parking requirements for some or all uses downtown, and/or waive parking requirements for adaptive reuse projects.
  • Allow or require developers in constrained areas to pay into a fund to be used for building public parking rather than providing parking spaces (see fees-in-lieu).
  • Count on-street parking towards minimum parking requirements (see flexible minimum requirements).
  • Allow the new use to lease or share parking spaces with nearby properties that have excess on-site parking or have parking demand during a different time of the day, week, or year (see shared parking).
  • Establish flexible parking requirements based on:
    • alternative mode access (especially proximity of transit, but also pedestrian and bicycle facilities)
    • expected demographics of residential developments (age, income, other auto-ownership factors)
    • parking studies providing data to support requests to reduce or increase parking
    • implementation of programs to reduce the need for parking spaces, such as parking cash out, un-bundled parking, shared parking, priority parking for carpools, or car sharing (see parking and transportation demand management)
  • If there is not enough extra parking capacity in downtown to absorb the impact of the redevelopment or reuse, establish shuttles to downtown from remote parking lots, such as park and ride lots, with excess capacity (see remote parking and shuttles).
  • If the redevelopment will add to demand for on-street parking, charge for street parking where demand exceeds supply. If there are already meters for on-street parking, raise hourly rates, or allow meter rates to vary with demand (see charging for parking). To make this more palatable, make payment easy using advanced meter technology, and/or establish a parking benefit district to reinvest some of the revenue from parking fees in maintenance or improvements for the district where it is generated.