O’Toole Doesn’t Know Texas

April 6, 2011

“Texas, where counties aren’t even allowed to zone, much less impose minimum-parking requirements”
– Randall O’Toole USING MARKETS TO ENHANCE MOBILITY

O’Toole is getting his facts wrong again on Texas parking. I previously did extensive research on parking requirements in Texas cities in response to a flawed O’Toole analysis of parking. See the summary below the cut. This time he admits that Texas cities may have zoning and parking minimums but still claims that the counties surely don’t. Putting aside the fact that dense development would be most likely to develop in cities not the counties anyway (I haven’t done the research but I would take the bet that cities are denser than counties despite zoning minimums) and that there appears to be a mechanism by which Texas cities have zoning or similar powers via “municipalities’ extra territorial jurisdictions,”  he’s still just missing the mark on the facts.

While it is true that Texas counties don’t have zoning power, they DO have subdivision regulations. Much of what we think is zoning is actually subdivision regulations which is why form-based codes often merge the two. And low and behold a look at Montgomery County Texas subdivision standards shows a set of pretty conventional off-street parking standards.  Check it out for yourself at MONTGOMERY COUNTY SUBDIVISION GUIDELINES AND RECOMMENDATIONS Appendix I. Also see Llano County: “Adequate off-street parking space must be provided in business or commercial areas.”

I do not pretend to understand the intricacies of how subdivision and permitting in Texas works but to all appearances they’ve got enough to tip to scale in favor of free parking and dumb growth.

Review of every tenth TX ordinance on municode.com starting with Addison, TX. Bonus cities: Houston, Alamo Heights, and Balch Springs. No code reviewed lacked off-street parking requirements. Full zoning code for Henrietta TX could not be found however code refers to “parking consistent with and adequate for the use proposed” under regulation of alleys. Ordinance/zoning text is a sample excerpt of parking regulation, not the full text. (Addendum: This analysis which refers to cities was performed in response to this O’Toole analysis of parking.)

Houston, TX code. Sec. 26-492. “the construction of a building for any of the following types of occupancies shall provide the requisite number of off-street parking spaces” (Office, Residential, Healthcare, Religious and Educational, Retail Services…)

Addison, TX: Appendix A, Article VIII. Sec 5A. “Adequate off-street parking spaces shall be provided to meet the requirements of the residents and their guests in each apartment project, but in no event shall the number of spaces provided be less than one for each efficiency, 1 1/2 for each one bedroom unit, two for each two bedroom unit and 2 1/2 for each three bedroom unit.”

Alamo Heights, TX. Sec 3-38: For each zoning district “no building or structure or part thereof, shall be hereafter erected, altered, converted or enlarged for any permitted use in the district in which it is located unless off-street parking facilities are provided in accordance with the following: Two (2) spaces for each dwelling unit, one (1) of which may be uncovered”

Athens, Tx. Zoning Ordinance (city website). Sec 33-2. D. A minimum oftwo (2) off-street parking spaces shall be provided for all single-family (detached and attached) and duplex (MF-2) dwelling units on the same lot as the main structure. … Additional parking shall be required for any recreational uses, club house, office, sales offices and/or visitors.

Balch Springs, TX. Sec 90-413: b. Furniture stores shall provide off-street parking space at the ratio of one space for each 1,000 square feet of floor area.
c. Medical or dental clinics shall provide off-street parking space at the ratio of one space for each 250 square feet of floor area. etc.

Bowie, TX. Chapter 12, Sec 25-5: A. Bank, savings and loan: One (1) space for each three hundred (300) square feet of floor area.
B. Bowling alley: Four (4) parking spaces for each alley or lane.” etc.

Cedar Hill, TX. Zoning Ordinance (city website), Sec 5.1. In all districts, the minimum number of off-street parking spaces to be provided shall be as follows (refer to Section 4.1.2 for relation of parking groups to permitted uses):
Group Minimum Number of Off-Street Parking Spaces Required
1. 1 per unit; 2. 2 per unit; … 4. 2 per unit — 2-car garage; 5. 2 per unit — 1-car garage; 6. 1 per 50 sq. ft. of gross floor area + 12; … 39. 2 per caretakers unit; 40. Less than 15,000 sq. ft. of gross floor area – 1 per 200 sq. ft; 15,001-75,000 sq. ft. of gross floor area – 1 per 225 sq. ft. …
600,001 and greater sq. ft. of gross floor area – 1 per 300 sq. ft.
* Surface parking shall not exceed 110% of minimum required.

Copperas Cove, TX. Sec 24-24g. Schedule of Minimum Off-Street Parking Standards
USES NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES REQUIRED FOR EACH
Single-family 2 Dwelling unit
Two-family 2 Dwelling unit

Dickinson, TX. Article IX. Sec. 18-99. Off-street parking schedule. The minimum number of parking spaces required is as follows:

Ennis, Tx. Zoning Ordinance (city website). Sec 15-100. TABLE 15-103 Schedule of Off-street parking standards.

Gainesville- Appendix A Sec 3.7

Henrietta- Zoning code not found online. Sec. 23-47. “Alleys shall be provided in commercial and industrial districts, except that the commission may waive this requirement where other definite and assured provision is made for service access, such as off-street loading, unloading and parking consistent with and adequate for the use proposed.”

Hurst- Sec 27-20. Table 20-3. SCHEDULE OF OFF-STREET PARKING STANDARDS

Kingsville- Sec 15-5-105,105,107,108 In all districts other than the Central Business District (C-3) for which no off-street parking is required, the following schedule shall apply:

Little Elm- Sec 106-88 When a building or structure is constructed or expanded, off-street parking shall be provided, per the following table:

Marble Falls- Appendix B Sec 1005 Minimum parking requirements

Missouri City- Appendix A 12.2 The minimum number of off-street vehicle parking spaces for a permitted use of property shall be as set forth in table 1 below.

New Braunfels Sec 144-5-1-3 Schedule of required spaces

Pharr- Appendix A ARTICLE IV. Sec. 1.52. Number of off-street parking spaces required.

Richland Hills- Sec 90-281 Schedule of Parking Requirements

Saginaw- Appendix A Sec 8.9 Off-street parking and loading requirements.

Shenandoah- Sec. 102-435. Parking charts.

Uvalde- 17.32.010 Requirements. The following off-street parking spaces shall be provided

Weslaco- Sec. 134-286. Parking requirements based on use.

Addenda:

On Cities: Texas Municipal Code Title 14 Chapter 431.001. PARKING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY. A municipality by ordinance may regulate the parking of motor vehicles on private property and may enforce the ordinance in the same manner that it enforces ordinances regulating parking in public no-parking zones, including the impoundment of offending vehicles.

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One Response to “O’Toole Doesn’t Know Texas”


  1. [...] Eliza Harris at My Urban Generation takes issue with some factual claims made by Randal O’Tool…: [O'Toole] admits that Texas cities may have zoning and parking minimums but still claims that the counties surely don’t. Putting aside the fact that dense development would be most likely to develop in cities not the counties anyway (I haven’t done the research but I would take the bet that cities are denser than counties despite zoning minimums) and that there appears to be a mechanism by which Texas cities have zoning or similar powers via “municipalities’ extra territorial jurisdictions,” he’s still just missing the mark on the facts. [...]

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