The Parking Wars are officially over. There is peace in our time. Under changes to Chapter 26 of the City of Houston parking ordinance passed today by Houston City Council, bars and restaurants that are under 4,500 square feet will not be subject to burdensome new requirements that would have increased the number of spaces they're required to provide by 40% for bars and 25% for restaurants. That covers most independently owned bar and restaurants such as Anvil, which is approximately 2,400 square feet.
The vote came after an intense lobbying effort by restaurant interest group OKRA, the Organized Kollaboration on Restaurant Affairs, that generated a massive groundswell of public support. OKRA president Bobby Heugel calls the new legislation "a huge victory" that he's "really excited" about. He offers thanks to the public on behalf of the independent bar and restaurant owners who fought against the Planning Commission's initial proposal. According to Heugel, council members Ed Gonzalez and Ellen Cohen also provided crucial support.