Students at Illinois State University know parking is very limited on campus but according to the Normal Town Council meeting on Monday night, parking trends across the nation are changing and the town is offering to do something about it.
A public hearing was held at 7 p.m. about zoning code variances on three Locust street properties.
The variances are to demolish buildings 105, 107 and 111 of West Locust and rebuild one five story structure with parking below.
Town of Normal Planner Mercy Davison says parking trends in colleges are changing because fewer miles are being driven, and people are obtaining driver’s licenses later in life.
Although the trends on ISU campus are unknown, the new property can help see how these trends are playing out.
“We think this is a good opportunity to see how parking preferences are changing. We know nationally there are trends with fewer people in the college age group bringing cars to campus,” Mercy Davison said.
Other factors contribute to parking trends like delivery services such as Uber, Lyft, Grub Hub, Amazon Delivery and much more.
The variance states the new building will be 5 feet fewer away from the property line to push the new building back to include a circle drive, making the delivery process much easier and accessible.
“Given transportation choices being very much in flux, we think it would be good to build a building for the future that applicants think will require less on-site parking,” Davison said.
The existing three properties currently have 20 units altogether, with an occupancy load of 80 people and the proposed project will have 37 units, with essentially 126 occupants.
There are three different plans, but only plan number 2 was proposed by Davison at the meeting.
Other reasons to add this structure is that by design, residents wanting to live at the property can see parking is not as readily available as it might be somewhere else.
Due to the building being pushed back 5 feet, it can also have better landscaping up front which is what the public sees.
The three buildings currently do not provide storm water detention because that was not a requirement when they were originally built and Davison does admit this neighborhood has a water retention issue.
Any new project on the site must have storm water detention which will ultimately help with the issue.