Changes proposed to the town's parking and traffic regulations in an effort to ensure safety and control parking availability were discussed Monday by the parking subcommittee of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The changes are being considered to "enhance some of the parking and traffic regulations to create safer streets and to ensure that proposed uses have adequate parking -- while also minimizing impacts to residential neighborhoods," according to the draft proposal.

The amendment is also proposing to create new definitions and parking standards for personal services and gyms/fitness centers, which officials feel often create greater demand for parking than traditional retail use.

It's a matter of terminology, said Larry Bradley, the Planning and Zoning Department director, when reading the new definitions for personal services and fitness centers.

Under the personal service uses are hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, cosmetology and similar outlets, he told members of the P&Z parking subcommittee.

When he mentioned "massage parlors," which also fell under the category, zoners felt that would give that service a bad connotation. "How about personal massage," said Bradley. "You're digging yourself in deeper," said Chip Stephens, the P&Z chairman and subcommittee member.

After some discussion it was decided to change the reference to massage parlors to "day spas."

A proposed addition to the regulation would require that any uses within the rule's jurisdiction proposed anywhere in town that require more than 20 parking spaces must be located on a collector street, an arterial street or a four lane arterial street. "The purpose of this change is to minimize the impacts of commercial and special permit uses on residential" streets, according to the draft proposal.

As for personal services, fitness centers and gyms, a new parking standard has been added that "requires one space for every 165 square feet of gross floor space." If space is proposed for group classes of more than five people, then the area devoted to the classes must have parking provided at a ratio of one space for every 100 square feet of gross floor area. "It gets more restrictive for classes" like yoga or spinning, Bradley said. However, the new standard does not apply to gyms within corporate parks, he added.

Bradley said some businesses may be out of conformance if new regulations are approved.

"You may hear from someone saying you now made them non-conforming and they can't go anywhere," Bradley said. "That will all come out at the public hearing," said P&Z and subcommittee member Cathy Walsh.

Standards for parking at multi-family dwellings were questioned by Dewey Loselle, the town's operations director, who attended the meeting in Town Hall.

This led to a discussion of parking at senior residential housing, which Walsh said needs a review and a clear definition. She said that currently all senior housing, assisted- and full-care living facilities are lumped together. She said she would gladly do the review.

Stephens said a better definition would "let developers know what they are up against when they come to us,"

After some minor changes are made to the draft regulation, it will be presented to the full P&Z, Stephens said.