Want more affordable housing in Charlotte? Start with parking

By: Shannon Binns

Affordable housing is one of Charlotte’s most vexing problems. Because Charlotte is a car-dependent city, the problem of affordable housing is magnified by the cost of owning a car. Charlotte’s parking regulations act as a catalyst for the affordable housing problem in two important ways.

First, Charlotte’s parking regulations require substantial amounts of off-street parking (i.e. parking garages) for apartments and condominiums, substantially increasing development costs. Second, Charlotte’s parking regulations do nothing to discourage the cost of parking from being “bundled” into the price of housing.

Bundling the cost of parking into the price of housing hides the full cost of parking and shifts the burden of paying for parking to residents who choose not to own a car. It’s as if an invisible hand is pushing residents into car ownership to their detriment.

It’s time to change course.

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