Ken Larsen's web site - Chapel Hill FBC Parking Issue


It's my assertion that Chapel Hill's recently adopted Form Based Code (FBC) requires an inadequate number of parking spaces.  By way of example, below is an analysis of Lee Perry's proposal for the Village Plaza Apartments development on Elliott Road.


Lee Perry's Village Plaza proposal consists of:


If we apply the time tested FBC of Flagstaff, Arizona and Chapel Hill's FBC for Ephesus-Fordham/E-F (see section in this document) we get:



Item Quantity Flagstaff multiplier Flagstaff
parking spaces


1 BR 160 1.5 240 1.0/1.25 160/200


2 BR 106 2.0 212 1.25/1.75 133/186
3 Guest parking (based on number of 2 BR units) 106 0.25 27 0 0
4 Parking for retail 15,600 1 per 300 sqf 52 1 per 300 sqf/1 per 200 sqf 52/78
5 Parking for restaurants or cafes ? 1 per employee plus 1 per 100 sqf ? 1 per 110 sqf/1 per 75 sqf 0
6 Parking for bars/taverns ? 1 per employee plus 1 per 50 sqf ? 1 per 110 sqf/1 per 75 sqf 0
  Total     531   345/464


Therefore, if Lee Perry were building Village Plaza in Flagstaff, he would be rquired to provide 531 parking spaces.  That's 138 more spaces than he plans to provide (393).


A few other points to note:


Currently, customers of Whole Foods overflow the existing Whole Foods parking lot.  I expect this overflow will continue, and WF customers will park in the street parking that Perry intends for his residents.  This will effectively reduce the parking available for Village Plaza residents.


Flagstaff requires more parking spaces for bars and restaurants than retail.  If some of the Village Plaza's retail square footage is allocated to a bar and/or restaurant, then even more spaces would be needed.


Not all of this is Lee Perry's fault.  He is complying with the newly approved Chapel Hill Form Based Code ... except that he's giving 70 spaces to Whole Foods.  The principal problem resides with the Chapel Hill FBC.  It stipulates an inadequate number of parking spaces.  This shortcoming was brought to the attention of Town leaders during the FBC review process, but they chose to ignore it.  It should be rectified before the Perry design is approved. 


Some may argue that Chapel Hill is not Flagstaff, so a comparison with Flagstaff is not justified.  I challenge the naysayers to scrutinize the parking sections of both FBCs and see which makes more sense.  The Chapel Hill FBC only stipulates 1.0 parking spaces per 1 bedroom unit.  Flagstaff stipulates 1.5.  The Flagstaff number seems more reasonable.  Many 1 BR units will be purchased by couples.  These days each person has a car.


December 24, 2014:  At 12:20 PM I counted 111 cars parked in the lot that will soon be torn up to become the Village Plaza Apartments complex.  Those cars clearly belonged to people shopping at Whole Foods.  There were no spaces for them to park near Whole Foods.  That lot was full due to last minute Christmas shopping.  It is clear that a year from now pre-Christmas Whole Foods shopping will be a horrendous traffic mess.


September 23, 2014:  I attend CDC meeting at Town Hall to alert them about the parking issue, but "it's outside of their purview".


October 22, 2014: I send an email to the Mayor and Town Council members alerting them to the parking issue.  I never get a response.


November 10, 2014:  I send an email to Town Manager Roger Stancil, Gene Poveromo, Kay Pearlstein, Judy Johnson, and Scott Murray alerting them to the parking issue.  I never receive a response.


Ken Larsen's home page

Ephesus/Fordham project