DUBLIN -- Hoping to attract more restaurants, shops and life to part of its downtown district, Dublin will likely waive its parking requirements for new businesses along Village Parkway.

At the direction of the City Council, the Dublin Planning Commission last week recommended approval of an ordinance change to eliminate the parking requirements for businesses in the area for a two-year trial period. The ordinance change is expected to go before the council by the end of the year.

City Council members say they want to bring more diners, shoppers and strollers to the area to give it the feel of a "Main Street" where people like to hang out.

A problem, city officials say, is a city ordinance requiring business applicants to meet rules for providing certain numbers of off-street parking spaces. That has discouraged plans for more shop, bar and restaurant owners to locate there and attract foot traffic, officials said

"We think we can get more intense use in some of the buildings in this area without causing a parking problem," said Dublin Mayor Tim Sbranti. "There is excess parking capacity in the area, but it's a deterrent for potential new restaurants and other businesses to meet our parking requirements on paper."

While businesses could seek relief from the parking requirements by applying for a city conditional-use permit, that would take time and money without a certain result, Sbranti said.

The city would eliminate the parking standards in an area along Village Parkway roughly from Dublin Boulevard to Amador Valley Boulevard.

The area has a wide mix of businesses, including auto and muffler shops, fast food restaurants, medical offices, a bar, furniture stores, martial arts studios and warehouses.

During the two-year trial, the city would continue to regulate types of new businesses allowed, but would leave it up to building owners and managers to lease to tenants that wouldn't lead to parking shortages, according to a report that Dublin planners made to the Planning Commission.

Earlier this year, city staffers had suggested temporarily waiving the parking requirements in a 4.2-acre area along Village Parkway. The Dublin council, however, said it wanted to go further and include the entire Village Parkway district.

Sbranti said he did an informal survey earlier this year and found 600 or more parking spaces vacant -- which amounts to about half of the off-street parking spaces in that area.

"I don't think we will create a parking problem, but if we do, we will can make changes," Sbranti said.

Most buildings in the Village Parkway district were built before the city's incorporation in 1982. Back then, Alameda County had land-use control over the area and had laxer parking standards, city officials said.

Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.

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