Canton Street Arbor - Cool Concept, Bad Parking Solution

This is a plan that is on life support for the property at the southeast corner of the Woodstock|Canton intersection.  It was approved with conditions by the Historic Preservation Commission in Jan 2011 but didn't get off the ground due to zoning/use issues.  

One interesting tidbit is the that the property and vision belong to Mayor Jere Wood.  He wants to build an arbor in the style of those built around Georgia in the early to mid 1800's.  See the image of the Brush Arbor at the Marietta Campground below for an idea of the building type.  I wanted to comment on it as I love building but hate the site layout.  It's another case of parking requirements killing progress and inhibiting good designs from becoming reality.

Now, check out the rendering of the arbor that Mayor Wood has had designed for his property.  It is strikingly similar to the Brush Arbor above which was built circa 1839.  It may be a copycat but it sure would be a great addition to our historic district and Canton Street if it were done the right way.

Now, here's a site plan with new parking shaded in red and the proposed arbor in green.


As you can see, there is a lot of additional parking.  The parking will be pervious so it wouldn't be asphalt but it's still parking.  The plans I saw showed the use as Assembley which would require 58 additional spaces to be added to the lot.  Now, the mayor decided he would compromise and say that the use was to be retail instead which would have a lower parking requirement.  This still leaves the entire lot with 95 parking spots.  That's a lot of parking for business that have peak traffic at different times of day.  Another solution is to allow fewer spots because there are spots at the soccer fields right up the road.

The parking requirements are one problem but another is the location of the new parking.  This design would further erode the public realm around that intersection.  I think you could find a way to tuck a lot (not all) of the necessary parking in between the existing buildings and tweaking the layout of the existing parking spaces a bit.  You could even pull the arbor building closer to the sidewalk.  But wait, there are minimum setback requirements to deal with.  You can't build a building close to the sidewalk like Salt Factory or Roswell Provisions or Go With The Flow.. That would be against code.

I'd love to see this get built as a hybrid retail and assembley space but even more than that, I'd love dopey zoning get out of the way and let the free market decide what gets built. 


images: AJC, City of Roswell