Parking still posing problems for students

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    By STEVE MOHLMAN

    Many students in Provo drive home late at night, weary after a day of working or studying, only to find their apartment complex parking lot full of cars; and they end up having to park on the street or in another far-away place.

    Lack of parking hasn’t always been such a problem. Older apartments in Provo were constructed with the idea that only one or two parking spaces were needed for each apartment. But today, that is rarely enough.

    According to Mike Hyde, Provo City assistant community development director, the biggest problem with parking in town is with apartments built before stricter regulations were put in place in 1992. Before that time, most apartment complexes were built with 1-1/2 to two parking spaces per dwelling unit, Hyde said.

    “Condominiums were built with the intent of having families in them,” said John Pace, manager of the BYU Off-Campus Housing Office. “The city will only allow three single persons to occupy an apartment in a situation like that, even though the apartment may have three large … bedrooms, and could easily house six.”

    Provo City leaders saw the problem with the population boom and adopted new zoning regulations in 1992. Ideally, if all apartment complexes are in line with the new regulations, there should be at least one parking space per driver.

    “In a typical student housing facility, there are to be two parking spaces per bedroom, plus a quarter of a space per unit for visitor parking,” Hyde said.

    Hyde said that, according to zoning ordinances, only 1-1/2 parking spaces need to be set aside for bedrooms under 100 square feet, and one space for each additional bedroom in the dwelling under 100 square feet.

    “Prior to the issuance of a building permit for any multiple-residential project or apartment over two units, there must be a contract signed between the city and the developer agreeing to a determined occupancy based on the number of parking spaces,” according to chapter 14.37 of the City Code.

    Once the construction is over, however, the zoning ordinances mean little. There are a set number of parking spaces, and apartment owners have to keep their end of the bargain.

    “It’s up to the manager of the facility to make sure that (tenants have) their spaces allocated, so that when they come home at night they have a place to park, and it’s not going to be taken by visitors,” Hyde said.

    Some apartments have a problem appeasing everyone. Last year, Old Mill apartments limited parking stickers to three per apartment. The management received numerous complaints from residents who didn’t receive parking stickers and couldn’t park in the complex.

    The policy was changed this year to an open-parking policy. Everyone in the complex received a parking sticker. However, now there are other problems.

    “Lately, we just get a lot of complaints on the parking situation, … probably about 10 a week,” said Michelle Garlitz, a manager at Old Mill.

    Students that live in on-campus housing don’t experience as many problems as those that live off campus, according to Clyde Hawkins, manager of BYU on-campus housing.

    “In all the years I’ve been in housing, in Helaman (Halls) and (Deseret Towers), I’ve not received a parking complaint — unless there’s a ticket,” Hawkins said.

    “At Wymount, we have experienced a little bit of a problem, and the main thing there was (that Wymount residents) wanted to park directly in front of their own apartment,” Hawkins said. “They want us to mark the stalls and say ‘This one is mine, you can’t park there.’ But there is plenty of parking.”

    Not all students that live in apartments are so lucky, however. Many have to park quite a distance from their apartment when they get home at night.

    “It is a concern for us because tenants don’t have enough parking spaces in some places,” Pace said. “And it’s a concern for the whole community because that means they’ll park on the streets, and that creates more congestion.”

    However, BYU off-campus housing doesn’t require its own parking-space standards in declaring an apartment complex BYU-approved. Pace said that BYU’s approval requirements rely on the city’s approval.

    “We will base our approval on what zoning ordinances will allow, as far as number of occupants per apartment. Now, we’re sending landlords who want to become approved to the city zoning office first to get a certificate of compliance,” Pace said.

    Students don’t need to worry about unfair rate increases, Pace said. If an apartment comes into compliance and needs to raise rent, it has that right, but not until the student’s current contract ends. Students should look into an apartment’s parking situation before moving in to avoid such problems, he said.

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