Town to tango on Monday with restaurant parking rules

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Following years of complaints from angry residents in the north Village, the Longboat Key Town Commission will continue its attempts to tweak restaurant parking regulations at a meeting on June 1.

An ordinance will be considered that will amend the requirement that restaurant parking is determined by the number of seats. Instead, the new rules will base parking on the building square footage.

Town staff in working with the Planning and Zoning Board developed a hybrid approach that borrowed from both the City of Sanibel and the town of Palm Beach. Each city uses a different ratio to determine how many spaces per square foot.

Ultimately, the Planning and Zoning Board reached consensus to consider a requirement of one parking space for each 150 square feet of floor area as well as outdoor dining areas. This is similar to the City of Sarasota’s standard.

According to Planning and Zoning Director Alan Parsons, the goal is to require restaurants to provide more parking than the current standards, but not to be overly burdensome to future restaurants.

Parsons says that the proposed rules are straightforward, as well as easy to interpret and enforce.

The Town Commission approved the new parking rules at a first reading last March and at that time, asked staff to return with more information on what the impact would be for various restaurants within the town.

Staff is recommending that the commission adopt the ordinance on Monday.

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