TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — With the age of Amazon and the pandemic's impact on businesses, town planner said there were a lot of empty, unused parking spaces, showing the changes in the way people shop and eat out.
For the first time in about two decades, the town updated the parking code to help bring flexibility to businesses and decrease the number of idle spaces in future developments. It also means more space for drive thru areas.
President of the Oro Valley Chamber Dave Perry said these updates are very pro-business and helps them save time in making decisions about their shops.
"One of the things that this code does is that it allows a restaurants to use their parking spaces for more permanent outside seating," Perry said. "The thing that we are excited about is that it gives authority to staff to make technical decision about parking and drive thrus, rather than going in front of volunteer boards and eventually the town council."
Over at ZPizza in Oro Valley, they had to pivot because of the pandemic. Owner Rob Curcio said they lost seats inside due to social distancing. So he applied and worked with the town in order to make permanent outside seating in two of the parking spots in front of the shop.
"In this lot they over developed the parking when we went to take up two parking spaces, we still have more than we need," Curcio said.
He said in his experience, he's seen places with too many spots and some with not enough parking spaces.
"But it’s like how do we get this many parking spaces for this many people," he said. "So maybe it’s time to revisit that, so I applaud them and hopefully they go in the right direction and not too strict that we don’t have a place to park anymore."
The goal of these revisions is to help future developments have the tools they need to make decisions for their individual businesses. About 8% of Oro Valley businesses like shopping malls will have decreased parking but 90% of the parking will see little to no change. 2% will see an increase in spots at places like bars and daycares.
Some Oro Valley residents fought expansion and development while others welcome the thought of more people moving to their towns. Perry said
"We want to create a complete community that serves everyone," Perry said. "We got a great town here, but we have to work out and try to grow. I'm not a growth at all costs kind of a guy but I am someone who says you have to get out there and make some things happen."
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