Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Time for residential parking permits

Right now councils throughout this region are providing free parking spaces for homes with secondary suites.      We have secondary suites through out our region and councils everywhere turn a blind eye to them but because of this, thought is not given to the impact of more people living in a house than planned.   One of those impacts is that the councils provide the illegal suites with a location to park and charge nothing for it.

The unlimited parking people can do in front of their homes also makes it cheaper for the wealthiest in our society to defray some of the costs of owning a car onto to the general public purse.  Effectively the municipality is extending the usable property of a house by an extra 2 meters onto the street.

I think the time has come for municipalities in this region to require parking permits for residents to park in front of their homes on an ongoing basis.   The first permit for a residence would be relatively cheap, say $100 a year, but it is the second and third permits that should be significantly more expensive.  The second one $600 and the third one $1800.

Since many families have two cars but with a secondary suite they need space for three, it is almost a certainty that all the homes with secondary suites will have to buy at least one if not two street parking permits.   These parking permits would shift some of the cost from property taxes and onto users as is only right.   At the moment the municipalities do not collect anything extra to cover the costs of secondary suites, this is one of the few methods I can think of that would most closely target secondary suites.

If I were to estimate how much this would bring in for income to the City of Victoria based on the rates I suggested, my estimate is $2 to $3 million a year.   This is not a huge amount in the overall scheme of things, but it would allow property tax increases to rise a bit slower.  

I think this should be done in Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich, Esquimalt, View Royal, Colwood, Sidney and Langford.

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