Concept: Small Private Parking Lot

Your home is your castle. Don't tolerate a trash lot next door, own it. If all you do is clear it and plant grass you'll have increased the value of your home, and others nearby.  Attend the annual Capital District Garden Show, visit the landscape section of your library, or surf the internet for fun ideas. 

You might be able to squeeze in some off street parking. If you have an alley, no sweat.  But parking takes up a lot more space than you think and the city does not like to cut new driveways across sidewalks. Most city lots are only 25’ wide which is not enough to get in park and turn around. It may be possible but it’s often a squeeze and you’ll have to jump through hoops for approvals.  It helps to hire a professional engineer or site planner to design a layout that will meet the city’s requirements for access and for storm water management.

Don’t pave the world.  You can win points with the city by using porous pavement, grass pavers or gravel so that the rainwater falls and soaks into your land instead of running off into the waste water treatment system or the Hudson River. Keep the Rain Out of the Drain.

 

Even if you can score two parking spaces, you can also enjoy the rest of the space as a yard for kids, pets, BBQ and gardening.

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Concept: Private Small Yard

Your home is your castle. You don’t have to tolerate a trash strewn lot next door.  Own it. If all you do is clean it out and plant a lawn you will have increased the value of your home and all the others on the block.  Attend the annual Capital District Garden Show, visit the landscape section of your library, or surf the internet for fun ideas.  Maybe a play structure for the kids, a grape arbor, a raised bed garden for fresh veggies, drying flowers for your wreath business, a nice big wood deck in the sunshine with a new door into the dining room for easy BBQ, the possibilities are endless.

If you think you can also have parking spaces, think twice.  Parking takes up a lot more space than you think and the city does not like to cut more driveways across the sidewalks. It may be possible but it’s often a squeeze and you’ll have to jump through more hoops for approvals.  Start small and enjoy the yard for a while before you make big investments.

Think about lighting and fencing. Install lights that shine down into your yard and not into your neighbors windows. Take the opportunity to install rain barrels from your roof and rain gardens to catch slope run off before it hits the sidewalk

And if you are the landlord instead of the occupant, a better environment is going to attract better tenants with a possibility of better rent.

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Concept: Do Not Do Parking Lot

Have we mentioned this?... PARKING TAKES UP WAY MORE SPACE THAN YOU THINK IT WILL and the city does not like to cut new driveways across sidewalks. Most city lots are only 25’ wide which is not enough to get in park and turn around. It may be possible but it’s often a squeeze and you’ll have to jump through hoops for approvals.  It helps to hire a professional engineer or site planner to design a layout that will meet the city’s requirements for access and for storm water management.

 

If all you want is off street parking, do the analysis before you buy the lot.  Know the actual dimensions and have a professional design a layout that complies with city regulations.

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Concept: Large Public Parking Lot

If you have a problem lot that is more than 45’ wide and a parking problem, consider building a planet friendly parking lot.  If you can fit more spaces than you need, rent spaces to grateful neighbors. If the minimum lot dimension is less that 50’ your lot is too small to be cost effective. Understand the Zoning restrictions and the capacity of the lot the before you purchase.  Carefully measure the lot or have a professional survey done.  Have a professional plan the most efficient layout.  Curb Cuts (driveways) are difficult to get approved. They reduce on-street parking capacity and increase pedestrian/vehicle conflicts.  Anticipate 3 months for Zoning Board and Planning Board approvals.

Don’t pave the world! Include good storm water management in your design.  Porous pavement, trees and rain gardens absorb runoff and reduce heat island effect.  Lighting and fencing will make the lot safer and attractive to tenants.  Install lighting with timers to reduce the light level after midnight.  

If cost is an issue team up with neighbors to own and improve the lot.  Consult a lawyer for a solid co-ownership agreement

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