TO:                  Mayor and Town Council


FROM:            W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager


SUBJECT:      Formation of a Downtown Parking Citizens Committee


DATE:            May 8, 2006





The purpose of this report is to recommend a charge, composition, and schedule for a Downtown Parking Citizens Committee. The attached resolution would adopt a charge for this committee.




At the April 10, 2006 Council meeting, a Council Member submitted a petition to form a committee to study parking in Downtown Chapel Hill (please see attachment). The petition proposed the formation of a committee to analyze the current situation, anticipate future needs, and offer strategies and remedies, if needed.


The petition suggested that the committee be composed of a cross-section of the community: citizens who work, shop and visit Downtown, business owners, property owners, property managers, traffic specialists and Council Members. The petition proposed that the committee be appointed by the last Council meeting in June 2006 and start work in the fall of 2006.


The Town Council referred the petition to the Manager for a recommendation on the charge, composition, and schedule for establishing a Downtown Parking Citizens Committee.




We believe that examination of issues related to downtown parking should occur in the context of related plans and efforts of the Town Council.


1.  Comprehensive Plan. The Town’s 2000 Comprehensive Plan goal for transportation is “develop a balanced multi-modal transportation system that will enhance mobility for all citizens, reduce automobile dependence, and preserve/enhance the character of Chapel Hill.”  A specific objective in the Plan for downtown parking is “develop a parking system within downtown that recognizes the need for adequate short-term parking while encouraging policies and practices that minimize the long-term parking supply.”


The 2000 Downtown Small Area Plan also includes objectives to “provide adequate (but not excessive), and convenient off street short-term parking in either public or private facilities to serve the needs of businesses, residents, and visitors” and to “encourage a cooperative parking system driven by downtown tenants.”


We recommend the proposed Citizens Committee review these existing goals as part of the Council’s request to advisory boards to review the 2000 Comprehensive Plan.


2.  Council GoalsThe Council’s goals for 2006 adopted on February 27 include a goal to develop and implement a comprehensive parking strategy as called for in the 2000 Comprehensive Plan strategy 10E-1, including: short-term parking, reducing long-term parking, structured parking, and shared parking approaches.  The strategy would especially consider impacts in downtown Chapel Hill.  The proposed work of the Citizens Committee could partially address this Council goal by focusing on the downtown aspects of a comprehensive parking strategy.


3.  2004 Parking Study. During the fall of 2003, LSA Associates, Inc. began work on a study of parking patterns in Chapel Hill.  The resulting study, “Proposed Minimum and Maximum Parking Requirements, November 17, 2004” is relevant to the potential charge of the proposed Downtown Parking Citizens Committee. The LSA Associates study included as Appendix C a Downtown Parking Study.  This study focused on a survey of current downtown conditions, including a parking inventory, parking occupancy survey, and parking utilization calculations.  We recommend that the data-gathering of the proposed Citizens Committee build upon this work.


The LSA study determined how much parking is needed for different types of land uses in Chapel Hill.  The objective was to adjust the Town’s parking requirements that are contained in the Land Use Management Ordinance.  The Council received the consultant’s report on November 22, 2004; a public hearing was held on February 21, 2005.  The Council asked for advisory board input as well.  On May 23, 2005, the Council deferred action, and asked for additional comment by the Transportation Board. The Transportation Board is continuing its consideration and the item could return to Council as early as June, 2006. We recommend the Citizens Committee review the recommendations of the portions of the LSA study related to downtown Chapel Hill.


4.  Downtown Economic Development InitiativeThe Council’s negotiations with Ram Development Company to develop Lot 5 at the corner of West Franklin, Church, and West Rosemary Streets, and on the Wallace Deck on East Rosemary Street will impact the short-term and long-term supply of parking in downtown.  The Council’s goal has been to minimize the impacts on the long-term supply of public parking in downtown, while providing for adequate parking associated with the new retail space proposed.  The construction of new development on existing public parking facilities will affect the supply of parking during the construction period.   We recommend the Citizens Committee be involved in efforts to develop a plan for alternate parking arrangements during construction.


Charge of the Committee


We recommend that the proposed Downtown Parking Citizens Committee’s charge include the following:


Composition of the Committee

We recommend that the Council consider appointing citizens who work, shop and visit downtown, business owners, property owners, property managers, and Council members. We recommend that the Council consider a committee of no more than 15 members.  We suggest the following composition for the Committee:




We propose that the Council consider advertising and making appointments to the Downtown Parking Citizens Committee by June 26, 2006.  To meet this goal, the Town Clerk would advertise in May, and submit nominations for the Council’s consideration on June 12, 2006.


We recommend the following timeline for the Committee’s work:


June 2006                    Appoint Downtown Parking Citizens Committee

July 2006                     Begin Committee work

Fall 2006                     Include opportunity for public comment

January 2007               Provide draft report to the Town Council

February 2007             Hold Council Work Session on draft report

March 2007                 Conduct Council public hearing on draft report

June 2007                    Consider Council adoption of Downtown Parking Implementation Plan




That the Council adopt the attached resolution establishing a charge and composition for a Downtown Parking Citizens Committee along with a work schedule.




  1. Petition to Form Downtown Parking Citizens Committee, Council Member Cam Hill, April 10, 2006 (p. 7).