SOUTH KINGSTOWN – The South Kingstown Town Council voted unanimously Monday to amend the town’s zoning ordinance for minimum off-street parking requirements from one space for each four persons of total capacity for lunchrooms, restaurants, taverns, etc., located in a commercial highway zone.
Vincent Murray, director of planning, told the council that the number of persons of capacity typically refers to seats in a restaurant.
Councilor Jim O’Neill made a request to amend the parking ordinance during the Oct. 28 town council meeting.
Murray said in its “current form” the proposal would broadly amend parking requirements for all restaurants in commercial zoning districts: commercial downtown, commercial neighborhood, commercial highway, commercial waterfront and special management districts.
“Upon staff review, we determined that the amendment might not be a good fit for a number of commercial zoning districts,” Murray said.
He said staff recommended that the proposed amendment only be applied to the commercial highway zoning district, which includes the area in the Dale Carlia vicinity, Old Tower Hill Road, and a small area on Route 108 north of the South Kingstown Police Department.
“There was a commercial highway zoning study done several years ago that found that this area could benefit from reduced parking requirements or shared parking arrangements,” Murray said.
He said that study found that limiting hardscape and increasing landscaping could improve the area, which would also help with storm water treatment issues in the Indian Run area.
Murray said the South Kingstown Planning Board also reviewed the proposed amendment at their Nov. 26 meeting and voted to recommend that the town council approve the proposed amendment limited in application to the commercial highway zoning district.
He noted that the planning board expressed concern about the proposed amendment potentially leading to unintended consequences and that additional research might be needed to understand the implications of such an amendment on future developments and existing businesses and that the parking should be monitored going forward.