Sean Janssen, The Union Democrat

The Angels Camp City Council tweaked its proposed off-street parking ordinance enough Tuesday to necessitate continuing the matter until its Nov. 20 meeting.

The council agreed to accept some recommended amendments suggested by Councilman-elect Wes Kulm, who sat in the audience at Tuesday's meeting.

Key among Kulm's suggestions is detailed parameters for estimating the costs of in-lieu payments should businesses choose to pay into a city parking fund rather than develop spaces.

"Factors should not only include the actual cost of the area of the number of parking spaces waived, but also include the proportional costs of the associated driveway approaches, aisles serving the spaces, associated lighting, landscaping, signage, fencing and, most importantly, the cost of the land that supports the parking spaces waived," Kulm said.

As in discussions of the same issue in a session last month, council members Scott Behiel and Stuart Raggio each expressed concerns about the proposed regulations being more restrictive than those now in place.

"I've opposed this change consistently for the simple reason that … it restricts new businesses coming in," Behiel said.

The owner of a Modesto senior care home, Behiel said the proposed ordinance would require 32 parking spaces for a business like his in Angels Camp, more than double what has proved sufficient through the years for him.

"That would probably prevent me from bringing my business to Angels Camp," he said. "To me, it sounds like a money grab (because) we want new parking structures. Nowhere in Angels Camp, except where businesses were built 75 to 100 years ago, is there a parking problem."

Behiel again stated that he could only support an ordinance no more restrictive than the city's existing one or what is required in unincorporated parts of the county. He said the Planning Commission could go back and compare each element in each ordinance to ensure no added burdens.

Mayor Elaine Morris disagreed.

"I don't think we should go through this exercise," Morris said. "The Planning Commission has done a lot of work on this. They didn't pull these things out of thin air. They looked at standards."

Planning Director David Hanham said research of similar ordinances in Sonora, unincorporated Calaveras County, Jackson, Grass Valley and Oakdale were used to model the proposed ordinance.

"We were also looking to the future (although) there may not be a problem parking now," Hanham said.

Hanham gave a presentation that compared the requirements of the new ordinance versus the current one.

The new code calls for two covered spaces per single-family home. Now spaces are not required to be covered. It requires guest parking for apartment complexes.

A 10,000-square-foot restaurant would need to have 93 spaces compared to 90, Hanham said, but the same size bank's requirement drops from 40 to 34. Fewer spaces would also be required in storage unit facilities, he said.