Reviews Mixed on New Front-Yard Parking Rules

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The long debate about front-yard parking continued at a public hearing Tuesday and, as in the past, the feedback was mixed.

The new law was passed in June, but rather than create a citywide ban, councilors agreed to implement the law using overlay zoning districts to cover specific geographic areas. The law will not be enforced until councilors choose one or more districts in which to ban front-yard parking.

Southwest Raleigh is the district with the highest number of offenders — or at least complaints — because of its proximity to N.C. State University and the related high number of rental houses.

If approved by councilors, an overlay there would cover about 8,200 acres and about 12,000 residents.

Residents would then be prohibited from using their front yards for additional parking when there is no driveway or on-street parking available. Those who want to add additional parking would be required to construct a paved surface no larger than 40 percent of the front yard.

The general border of this potential overlay runs along Jones Franklin Road, Hillsborough Street, Wade Avenue, the railroad tracks and Tyron Road.

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The only exceptions to the rule would be homes on major thoroughfares where residents would be unable to park on the street or existing unimproved parking areas.

Resident Chad Meadows spoke for the rule at Tuesday’s hearing. He said he’s been in favor of the law since he acted as chair of the Appearance Commission in 2004.

Meadows said opponents will say the law singles out students, adds a financial burden and is unfair, but, “Is it fair to ask property owners who work on managing and maintaining their properties to take on the negative impacts from neighbors who choose not to?”

University Park resident Evan Kane said his area is ground zero for front-yard parking and it became a problem when much of the housing became rental properties with multiple tenants. He called the law a workable and reasonable solution to the neighborhood’s concerns.

When prompted by another resident, about 15 people stood up to show their support for the law.

Speaking in opposition, Jerome Goldberg said he has been waiting to see statistics that would show how it would affect residents and how many houses would be affected.

Goldberg said he believes the only reason why the law is under consideration for Southwest Raleigh is because the district’s councilor, Thomas Crowder, wants to stop rentals in the area.

Another resident, Stephen Karvwatt, said he was the lone opposing vote at a July Wade Citizen’s Advisory Council meeting. He questioned how the city would enforce the law outside normal business hours and asked why other types of properties, such as duplexes, don’t fall under the law.

Karvwatt said it is already unsafe to park where he lives on Brooks Avenue and adding more cars to the street will make the problem worse. He suggested officials consider why people park on the grass.

“The underlying reason for the problem is not being addressed,” he said.

Some residents said there are other issues in their neighborhood that they would rather see addressed, such as stormwater runoff and the lack of sidewalks.

As with other overlay districts, this district will be reviewed by the Planning Commission before council members take a final vote.

5 thoughts on “Reviews Mixed on New Front-Yard Parking Rules

  1. “Meadows said opponents will say the law singles out students, adds a financial burden and is unfair, but, “Is it fair to ask property owners who work on managing and maintaining their properties to take on the negative impacts from neighbors who choose not to?””

    That is a slippery slope my friend.
    New laws:
    1) You must mow your grass on Tuesdays and Fridays to prevent a negative impact on my property values.
    2) No minorities may move into the neighborhood to prevent a negative impact on my property values.
    3) You must give up all of your rights as a property owner to maintain the investments of your neighbors.

    My biggest problem is as blatantly dishonest as its proponents. We ALL know that this is an anti-student and anti-minority law. Parking and property values are the politically correct justification. If shame or guilt prevents you from discussing what is actually on your mind, then perhaps you should just keep your mouth shut.

  2. Race-baiting here is simply uncalled for, and coupled with the “OMG they’re going to make me march lockstep with the guvmit!” nonsense, only outlines how weak the arguments JeffS seeks to make in his comment.

    This proposed ordinance is not anti-student or anti-rental either, it’s anti-landlords who don’t want to spend money on mitigating the consequences of their actions… Why should the neighborhoods bear the cost of these people doing business? If they choose to rent properties as a business (and we need rentals, don’t get me wrong there) they need to be responsible about it. Period.

    Personal Responsibility is required from the business community as well as from individual citizens.

  3. I’m sorry, but who owns the property? The landlord, homeowner, or the state? If it’s the landlord/homeowner, then the state has no authority to dictate what can be on anyone’s lawn, so long as it’s not violating anyone’s rights. If it’s lowering property values, then sue the landlord/homeowner for loss of property.

  4. Nothing to do with people being anti-students or racist. Its about parking in front yards and how ugly that looks and brings down the neighborhood. The solution sounds simple, just pave an area of your yard to park your car. Done.

  5. Lies and denial. It’s NOT about parking and if you’re one of the people complaining you know it.

    The problem people have is with the renters themselves. If it’s not parking it’s lawn maintenance or parties or noise or anything that seems to be a valid argument.

    You can’t legally address the real issue so you limit the number of parking spaces in hopes that this will cause the renters to voluntarily leave the immediate area… or at least reduce the density.

    But why waste my time. The people who are constantly out to impose their preferences on others couldn’t care less who is effected. And effected is the correct word here. They will be students and minorities and pointing that out does not make this a discussion of racism.