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Marin County considers ordinance to significantly reduce parking requirements

Attached is a letter from Sustainable TamAlmonte, dated December 1, 2018, to the Marin County Board of Supervisors regarding Agenda Item #10 "Ordinance revising Chapter 24.04 of the Marin County Code related to parking and loading standards, to align with Countywide Plan Housing Element Goals", which they will discuss at their Board meeting on Tuesday, December 4, 2018. (see below)

According to a Marin County News Release; "The Board will hear the first reading of a request from the Department of Public Works to consider changes to the Marin County Code. It is a revision to Chapter 24.04 related to parking and loading standards, to align with the Countywide Plan's Housing Element. The revision would reduce parking requirements for most facilities other than single-family detached units and are intended to encourage a variety of housing types, reduce vehicle dependency and reflect updated state-level regulations."

The Staff Report related to this issue states; "The section below provides a summary of the more salient proposed code changes:

- Housing Overlay Designation: This section was added and provides up to 50% reduction from the base standards.

- Affordable Housing Near Transit: This section was added and reflects new State regulations that provide for reduced parking requirements.

- Transit Rich Areas: This section was added and reflects new State regulations that provide for reduced parking requirements of up to 50%."

Please click HERE to view the Staff Report.

Please click HERE to view the DRAFT Ordinance.

Sustainable TamAlmonte's attached letter opposes the proposed reduction in parking requirements and urges the Supervisors to retain ample off-street parking for all Marin residents. Please read the letter for more details.

If you care about this issue, then please send in your own letter or, if you don't have time, send in a quick email endorsing Sustainable TamAlmonte's attached letter. Send your email to:


December 1, 2018

Marin County Board of Supervisors

3501 Civic Center Drive, Suite 329

San Rafael, CA 94903

Re: Proposed Ordinance Revising Title 24, Chapter 24.04, Parking and Loading Standards to Alight with Countywide Plan Housing Element Goals

Dear Marin County Board of Supervisors,

In regard to the proposed changes to parking development standards, we are opposed to reducing parking requirements for developments in Unincorporated Marin that qualify as either mixed-use, special needs, group homes, multifamily, seniors-only facilities, accessory dwelling units, affordable housing, or are located in areas with easy access to public transit. Such a reduction in parking standards would treat our more vulnerable residents as second-class citizens.

Some residents with certain health conditions may not drive vehicles but their care givers do, and they need parking spaces. Others that provide services for them also need to park their vehicles where the non-drivers live. Most seniors travel locally on a daily basis.

It is presumed that the above listed developments would need less parking because inhabitants would rely on transit instead of vehicles for their transportation needs. However, this is a false presumption in Marin.

Due to Marin’s insufficient and inconvenient public transportation and the need to carry children, equipment or large purchases, the vast majority of Marin residents rely on their personal vehicles to travel within Marin. Infrequent bus service provides transportation primarily in the North/South direction. SMART also travels North/South. There is little public transportation available for West/East travel. Many members of Marin’s population cannot walk or bike very far (E.g. Marin’s growing elderly population) or else find these non- motorized forms of transportation to be inappropriate for where they are going (E.g. They need to transport children or carry heavy objects). Therefore, Marin residents will most likely continue to rely primarily on their personal vehicles for transportation and will need places to park these vehicles.

A recent article confirms that most Marin residents use personal vehicles for their transportation needs and few use transit.

73.5 percent of Marin commuters drive to work and only 8.9 percent of Marin commuters use transit to get to work, according to a Mercury News article published in May, 2018 entitled; “Marin leads Bay Area in home-based workers”. The article includes data from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and relays the percentage of Marin commuters that use each commute mode.

Below is a link to the Mercury News article:

Lessening parking standards and off-street parking spaces does not stop residents from driving. It simply forces them to park their vehicles in public parking lots, which are needed for other purposes, or to park on streets, which are often too narrow for safe parking, thereby clogging the flow of traffic. With Marin’s high fire risk and elderly population, it is imperative to keep roads clear for fire trucks and emergency vehicles.

Once again, we urge you to retain ample off-street parking for all Marin residents.

Thank you for your conscientious consideration.

Very truly yours,


Sharon Rushton, Chairperson

Sustainable TamAlmonte