Northbrook Looks at Updating Medical Office Parking Rules

Northbrook Looks at Updating Medical Office Parking Rules

Board May Start Comprehensive Zoning Code Next Year
A Village proposal to equalize parking requirements for medical offices and general offices may be the first of many zoning changes of interest to the business community. Village President Kathryn Ciesla noted in July that she foresees a significant review of the zoning code to make requirements more consistent and less problematic for businesses.

The proposal presented to the Board on July 13 addressed zoning standards that require one off-street parking spot for every 200 square feet of medical office space while the mandate for other offices is one spot for 250 square feet. This can create a problem for commercial landlords with tenant turnover, since existing parking lots for general offices may not have enough space to accommodate a potential medical office tenant.

As noted by Village staff in a memorandum to the Board, “Considering the post-pandemic scenario where the general office vacancy rates are trending up, a high rate of conversion to medical office use has been observed. In order to continue to attract businesses in the community and keep vacant spaces occupied, staff would recommend amending the medical office parking requirement to be the same as general office for consistency.”

Discussing the proposal, President Ciesla stated that she would like to see a general review of the Zoning Code led by Trustee Muriel Collison, chair of the Board’s Planning & Economic Development Committee. The review would, in part, address similar inconsistencies and procedural problems affecting businesses.

“We want to be seen as a village that is welcoming to businesses,” said Ciesla. “I anticipate that in the next fiscal year we will rewrite our zoning code and take a really deep dive into that. Trustee Collison will be the point person for that for the Board and work with not only the staff, a consultant, and Attorney [Steve] Elrod, but citizens, builders, and developers to make certain that from parking to permits to whatever, we are current, we are practical, and things work a lot better.”

In the meantime, Trustee Collison urged that the proposed text amendment on office parking should move forward. “The reason it’s before us is because several potential tenants and building owners have made the comment that this is making the process more difficult,” commented Collison. “I would like to have this move along and I applaud the staff for noticing the issue and bringing it to our attention.” The next step is expected to be a public hearing at the Plan Commission in August.

Bring your questions on zoning, planning, and economic development to the Northbrook Leaders Lunch with Michaela Kohlstedt and Chan Yu on August 26! RSVP here.