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Q: drugstore parking requirements and parking studies ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: drugstore parking requirements and parking studies
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: parkingproblem-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 05 Nov 2003 17:02 PST
Expires: 05 Dec 2003 17:02 PST
Question ID: 273021
I am currently trying to build a 11,000 square foot drugstore with
only 25 parking spaces. I need to find parking studies that show that
drugstores do not need large amounts of parking, or I need to show
examples of existing new construction (within 5 years) drugstores with
little parking availability in order to show the local govermental
planning commission that a drugstore only needs 25 parking spaces.

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 05 Nov 2003 22:38 PST
Hello parkingproblem-ga,

Where is the location of your drugstore? Parking space requirements
usually fall under local jurisdiction. I will be happy to find you the
studies you?re looking for but knowing what local governmental
planning commission you?re dealing with will help.

I look forward to your clarification.

~ czh ~

Clarification of Question by parkingproblem-ga on 06 Nov 2003 10:00 PST
Hello czh-ga
The location of the drugstore is in Grosse Ile, Michigan.  I realize
the parking space requirements are under the local Jurisdiction, and I
already know
the parking requirements in Grosse Ile.  The Planning Commission asked
me to show them studies, whether it be from other jurisdictions and/or
existing examples of existing new construction, or various studies,
that would back up my claim that I only need 25 parking spaces for my
11,000 ft. drugstore. I think the Planning commision just wants
somthing in writing so they can justify their reason for giving me a
parking variance.

thank you

Parking problem

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 06 Nov 2003 11:26 PST

can you tell me what kind of location you will be in? Is it a pedestrian
shopping center, automobile oriented shopping center, regional, neighborhood,
etc? These considerations often influence the requirements. thanks, 

Clarification of Question by parkingproblem-ga on 06 Nov 2003 15:01 PST

The location of my building is on an island, in a neighborhood type of
setting in a free standing building next to a car wash. on the other
side of our parking lot is a dentist office. Across from the building
there is a 25,000 ft supermarket seperated by from my building by a
two lane main street where the speed limit is 35mph. The Island holds
6,000 residents who range from blue collar to white collar

parking problem

Clarification of Question by parkingproblem-ga on 07 Nov 2003 10:52 PST
it is Friday 11/7/03 and there are no answers posted to my questions.
Are you still working on the question?

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 07 Nov 2003 11:07 PST
Hi Parking problem,

I have been working on your question yesterday and this morning.
It is slightly tough for a number of reasons: the parking ratio you
are trying to use 1 space/440 square feet is much higher than most
ordinances in the nation allow. I only found one that came close.
I have calls in to the Urban Land Institute, which did the research on
which the ratios are set. I am going to talk to them about how they
reached their ratios, and about your particular case. I also have a
call in to a company
that does personalized traffic studies for businesses like yours. I have 
not found any other drug stores which were able to obtain variances for
the amount of parking you are seeking. I will continue to pursue this
today and see what the advice of the experts is. One already told me
you may have a tough time convincing your city of this. However, there
are some mitigating measures that can be tried to "negotiate" this with
your city, I have found some instances of "reduced" parking allowed
by satisfying some of these. If I get you the best advice of the
experts, and some negotiating points, would that make you happy?
What is your deadline? cath-ga

Clarification of Question by parkingproblem-ga on 07 Nov 2003 12:32 PST
Any article, study or example which shows a drugstore that has only 25 parking
spaces or there abouts would be appreciated. Again let me stress I am going
to get the parking variance but the planning commision justs wants somthing
to paper their file.  So even some type of recomndation from some sort of
authority figure that states 20-30 spaces would be enough would be appreciated.
The deadline is 4:00 p.m EST  11/10/03. So if you get me some best
advice of the experts,negotiating points and a few points of reference
would make me happy.

Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 07 Nov 2003 15:44 PST
parking problem,

thanks for your clarification. I will be talking with a drug store manager in
the morning (Sat.)that may be of help to you. I will get back to you
after that and tell you when I will have the answer (obviously before
your deadline!) cath-ga

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 09 Nov 2003 10:51 PST
Hello parkingproblem-ga,

Quite a descriptive name you've chosen for yourself!

I live near a CVS drugstore with a very small parking lot...right
around 25 spaces I think, though I haven't counted yet.  What's more,
the lot is jointly used by customers for both CVS and an adjacent
store, and the actual allotmenet to the CVS is far fewer than 25

I've been searching zoning commission files for information on this
lot, but so far, with no success.  However, if it would be useful to
you, I could certainly take photos of the lot and CVS store, and post
them as an answer to your question, if this would be any help to you
in your situation.

Let me know if this is of interest at all.


Request for Question Clarification by cath-ga on 09 Nov 2003 16:20 PST
parking problem,

I'll have your answer before your deadline Monday. Thanks for
your patience. cath-ga

Clarification of Question by parkingproblem-ga on 10 Nov 2003 09:10 PST
It's nice to know my name creativity is appreciated.
The pictures of the CVS with the adjacent parking along with an adress
would be of great help.

don't forget about me either

Subject: Re: drugstore parking requirements and parking studies
Answered By: cath-ga on 10 Nov 2003 11:44 PST
Parking spaces

Dear parkingproblem,

Thanks very much for your very challenging question!

There is a Rite Aid in Portage, MI that is very similar to
what you are proposing. It is 11,000 square feet, and has
30 parking spaces. This is according to the store?s 
assistant manager, Matt LeCureaux. The store is 
located at :

Rite Aid 
5003 S Westnedge Ave 
Portage, MI  49002

There is also Quinn?s Pharmacy and Gift, in Kalamazoo, MI that has
a shared parking lot with four stores. Their share of the spaces
is 25. Quinn?s has 4,800 square feet. This is according to the
owner, Pat Quinn.

Quinn's Pharmacy & Gift - Pharmacy 
6909 West Q Avenue 
Kalamazoo, MI  49009

The CVS Drugstore in Birmingham, MI shares 65 spaces with
three other stores, a Blockbusters, a Little Caesar?s and a cleaners.
That would be only 16.25 spaces per store, plus street parking.
This is according to store manager Christina Cesare-Buonarroti.
She doesn?t know the square footage, but the store is known
for being low-square footage, but high volume. 

444 S Old Woodward Ave 
Birmingham, MI  48009

Closer to my neck of the woods, The Lone Pine Drug Store, in Lone
Pine,California, has been operating just fine for 34 years with just
10 public spaces. The store has 5,000 square feet and also has 6 
spaces that are for private use (owner & employees.) That store is roughly 
half the size of yours. So if you double the number of public spaces they 
have, you would get 20 public spaces for your store, plus employee spaces. 

You can see the Lone Pine Drugstore and its owner on the Chamber
of Commerce website, at:

The Parking Standard in Tampa, for pharmacy, is 3/ 1,000 gsf.
That would be 33 for a store your size.  You can find the
regulation at:

Donald Shoup, Director of Urban Planning at the University of
California, Los Angeles, says that the square footage ratios which 
city planners use to form their parking standards are not necessarily
reasonable. In an article called ?Truth in Transportation,? he states 
that parking ratios are based on studies done by the Institute of
Transportation Engineers, who generally do a small group of studies at
peak hours. Shoup says there are inherent problems with that. 
Basically, the studies show the MAXIMUM usage of various types 
of facilities, then the cities establish an appropriate 
amount of parking as the MINIMUM requirement. Shoup also says, ?Floor 
area is only one among many factors that influence vehicle trips at a 
site, and we should not expect floor area or any other single variable
to accurately predict the number of vehicle trips at any site or land

This article will be found in the Journal of Transportation and 
Statistics, V6/N1  2003.

Jody Cook, public relations manager for Rite Aid Corporation, tells
me that parking for their drugstores is entirely subject to the location.
Some downtown stores require no parking, relying on foot traffic,
some large suburban stores have lots of parking. She says the
prototypical Rite Aid store is 11,000 square feet and has 35 ? 50
spaces.  35 isn?t that far off from 30?

(Jody Cook, Harrisburg, PA, 717- 731-6566)

Robert Dunphy is the Senior Resident Fellow for Transportation
and Infrastructure with the Urban Land Institute in Washington, DC. 
He has written articles saying that we have more parking spaces than
we really need. The reason for this, he told me, is that ?there?s
a general tendency among local codes is to err on the high side
to protect the localities from getting complaints about spillover 
parking. It also puts businesses in a bind. They assume that
you?re providing all the parking that?s necessary on site. The
way to beat that is to provide parking that?s nearby someplace
else?the easiest solution in a case like that, rather than
battle over what the demand is, is to find other places. And
look at the available street parking as well....I suggest we should 
revisit that whole question of allowing parking on the street and
that should be part of the available parking. You should allow
shared parking, common parking.?

Urban Land Institute
1025 Thomas Jefferson Street, NW
Suite 500 West
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: (202) 624-7000

Remember too, that people visiting drugstores don?t stay long, spaces
turn over fast. ?15 minutes. That's the typical time a customer spends 
in an Eckerd store.? That?s according to an article in the St. 
Petersburg Times at:

I spoke with John Forster, a parking consultant at Carl Walker, Inc. in 
Kalamazoo, MI. He is helps businesses solve their parking problems, and
regularly argues before city councils for variances for clients of his 
company. He told me what he would tell you (or could argue for you at
your meeting).

First of all, he confirmed what I had discovered, that parking ordinances
across the nation generally require ratios between 1/200 and 1/350 square
feet for  drug stores. What you are proposing is one space for each 440
square feet.  If you look at the bottom of this answer, I provide the long
list of jurisdictions which enforce the greater number of spaces to square 
feet. I did find one mention, in Inyo County, California, of a county 
planning department requiring 1 space for 400 square feet. 

You can find the regulation at:

Suggested negotiating points from John Forster:

Some businesses which operate at different peak hours are able to share
parking. If you can show that your peak hours are after the dentist?s 
closing time, you may be able to share parking with him. Or, failing 
that, if the dentist has any extra spaces, or by re-striping can create 
some, he may be amenable to leasing them to you. The car wash may not have 
any spaces, but may also be able to create some by striping, and lease
them to you. 

Another possibility is to secure off-site parking for your employees.
That may only add 2-4 spots, but each one counts.

He agrees that you may be able to add you your parking spaces by counting 
some on-street parking, though this varies by jurisdiction. Some cities 
will not count the street parking available to you, in others it may be negotiable.

You can reach Mr. Forster at: 

Carl Walker,Inc.
5136 Lovers Lane, Suite 200
Kalamazoo, Michigan 49002
Tel: 269-381-2222, Fax: 269-349-4656

An article in Planning Practice Magazine titled, ?Don?t Even Think of 
Parking Here, Are We Building Too Many Parking Spaces?, points out 
the lack of real research to back up local parking standards.  
Lisa Wormser quotes Fred Kent of Partners for Public Spaces, who says, 
"Who needs to be in a drugstore for two hours?" he asks.  He suggests 
that one solution is to pepper downtown streets with metered, short-term parking. 

Wormser?s  article also points out that unused parking spaces cost 
the developer and the city money:?Parking lots exert a powerful 
undertow on local economies by taking up space that could be put 
to more profitable uses, says John Shaw, assistant professor of urban 
and regional planning at the University of Iowa. Shaw cites several 
sources, including Richard Wilson and the Washington, D.C.-based 
COMSIS Corporation, that say each unused parking space wastes $600 to 
$900 a year in land development costs; vacant spaces in parking 
structures cost more. And these figures don't include potential 
tax revenues that are lost to parking each year.?
You can find the full article at:

The FindLaw website has a helpful article on ?Dealing with Zoning
Problems.?  Here?s a good suggestion:

?In dealing with administrators and especially with appeals boards, 
it's important to have the support of neighbors and others in your 
community. A favorable petition signed by most other businesses in
your immediate area or oral expressions of support from half a dozen
can make the difference between success and failure at an administrative hearing. ?

You can also offer to re-stripe the 2-line road in front of your store 
in order to provide some angle-parking on the street. Or, as mentioned 
before, see if the city will agree to put in short-term metered parking 
on the street. These are ways to add some spaces to your ratio. Just 
adding 8 spaces to your 25 will bring you up to the 1 space/ 300 square 
feet that is legal in many places.
The full FindLaw  article, ?Dealing with Zoning Problems? is  at:

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has prepared a 
tipsheet on how to blend new drugstore construction with older, 
historic areas. If you are in an older area, this quote may 
bolster your argument: 

Locating a sizable parking lot in front of a building is
inappropriate. Encourage on-street parking when feasible. Whenever
possible, parking
lots should be located to the rear or side of the new drugstore, in a 
location that is unobtrusive to the main streetscape."

Just between us, though, most stores your size have much more parking, 
and want more. In the story cited below, the store made an incredible 
number of expensive concessions, to get ONLY 70 spaces for an 10,000
square foot store.

?Bitter Pill for Drugstores? by Lisa Wormser

?In Mt. Morris, Rite Aid's site plan was approved only after the 
company agreed to 24 conditions, including contributing $250,000 
toward new sidewalks, decorative brick surfaces, benches, lighting, 
and burying some downtown utility lines. Mt. Morris also made some 
concessions: It changed its parking requirements to allow up to 40 
percent less parking in some cases, and it changed its zoning to 
allow drive-throughs.
You can find the full article at:

Michael Davidson, on the research staff of the American Planning 
Association, has co-authored a 181 page study of Parking Standards, 
which is for sale by the Association, for $60. He sent me the pages on
drugstores and pharmacies:

"drug store (see also dry goods store; notions store; pharmacy) 
1 space per each 350 Square feet of gross floor area excluding storage 
areas which shall not exceed 15percent of the gross square footage 
(St. Tammany Parish, La.)
1 space/200 square feet  (Columbia, Mo.; Kennewick, Wash.) 
5.5 spaces for each 1000 square feet of gross floor area for building 
over 3000 square feet; all smaller buildings, one space for each 
200 square feet. (Evansville, Ind.)
Five spaces per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area. 
(Spartanburg, S.C.) 4.5 parking spaces per each 1,000 square feet 
of gross floor area (Naperville, Ill.) 
1 per 250 square feet of gross leasable space. (North Ogden, Utah) 
Three and one half (3.5) parking spaces for each one thousand (1000) 
square feet of gross leasable area shall be required for any
individual, freestanding retail or service commercial use unless
listed separately
in this section, in which case the parking requirement noted for that 
specific use shall be utilized. Provided, however, that in no case 
shall any individual use provide less than five (5) parking spaces.
(Indianapolis, Ind.)
1 space per 300 square feet for stores 20,000 square feet and under 
and 1 space per 225 square feet for stores over 20,000 square feet. 
(San Mateo, Calif.)
Minimum Parking Standard: 1 per 300 square feet gross floor area. 
Maximum Parking Standard: 1 per 200 square feet gross floor area. 
(San Antonio, Tex.)
Minimum Parking Standard: 1 space for each 300 square feet of 
gross floor area used by pharmacist and related waiting areas, 
plus 1 space for each 250 square feet of gross floor area of 
retail space (see Section 9.1.14 for queue space requirements). 
Maximum Parking Standard: 1 space for each 200 square feet of 
gross floor area used by pharmacist and related waiting areas, 
plus 1 space for each 150 square feet of gross floor area of retail 
space. (Jefferson County, Ky.)
Minimum Parking Standard: 1 per 250 sq. ft. of gross floor area. 
Maximum Parking Standard:  1 per 150 sq. ft. of gross floor area. 
(Glenville, N.Y.)
pharmacy (see also drug store) 
one space for each 150 square feet of gross floor area. 
(Grants Pass, Ore.) 
One parking space for each 275 square feet of retails sales, 
office or work area plus warehouse requirements for designated
storage, receiving and shipping area not open to the public. (Ormond
Beach, Fla.)
3.0/1,000 square feet gross floor area  (Tampa, Fla.) 
Minimum Parking Standard: 1 space for each 300 square feet of 
gross floor area used by pharmacist and related waiting areas, 
plus 1 space for each 250 square feet of gross floor area of retail 
space (see Section 9.1.14 for queue space requirements). Maximum 
Parking Standard: 1 space for each 200 square feet of gross floor 
area used by pharmacist and related waiting areas, plus 1 space for 
each 150 square feet of gross floor area of retail space. 
Jefferson County, Ky.)"

The American Planning Association can be found at:

American Planning Association
122 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-431-9100
Fax: 312-431-9985
Mike Davidson, 
American Planning Association 

Anyway, you can cut off the bottom section of my answer when you make 
your argument to the city planners. But I included it to show you that 
you will be getting quite a variance from standard practice. If 
anything is unclear or incomplete in my answer, please press the 
?Clarify Answer? Button before you rate it. Good luck with your 
new store! 

Take care,cath-ga

search strategy on Google:

drugstore parking requirements
parking spaces + square feet
parking variance + drug store
parking space to square feet ratio + drugstore
drugstore + minimal parking
drugstore + 20-30 spaces

on Google News:

drugstore + reduced parking
drugstore + ?parking variance?
drugstore + 20-30 parking spaces
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