Planning Commission Approves Front-Yard Parking Rules

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The Raleigh Planning Commission voted 5 to 3 Tuesday to recommend approval for a new zoning district that would ban Southwest Raleigh residents from using their front yards for extra parking.

City Councilors approved the law in June, but the law is implemented using overlay zoning districts to cover specific geographic areas.

Because of it’s proximity to N.C. State University and the high number of rental houses, coupled with a lack of on-street parking, Southwest Raleigh is considered to be priority one for the ban.

[media-credit name=”City of Raleigh” align=”aligncenter” width=”600″][/media-credit]

City of Raleigh

The Southwest Raleigh Overlay District.

College students who rent the single-family homes in the area are considered by neighbors to be the biggest offenders.

The law bans residents from parking on the grass in front of their homes unless they construct a paved surface no larger than 40 percent of their yard or a driveway or a 380-square-foot parking pad, whichever is less.

Residents can also use gravel with permanent borders instead of a paved surface.

Residents who don’t have the desire or the financial means to construct a new driveway can park single file in their existing driveway or on the street.

Commissioners Marvin Butler, Waheed Haq and Isabel Mattox voted against the law.

Butler and Haq said they opposed the law because of the financial burden it would place on property owners.

Haq said not everyone can afford to retrofit their yards to meet the requirements. He acknowledged that residents can bypass the rule by parking single file, but “that’s not a solution,” he said.

“I think it’s a fairness issue,” Mattox said.

He said it isn’t fair to impose something on only one part of the city and would rather see the ban implemented throughout Raleigh.

Commissioner Mitch Fluhrer said he was on the Appearance Commission eight years ago when the issue first came to the table and that the original law would have covered the entire city.

“If we’re going to start somewhere, it’s a good start,” he said.

Other commissioners, including Commission Chair Linda Harris Edmisten, said they were in favor of eventually expanding the ban throughout Raleigh.

While many people spoke during the evening public hearing that referred the law to the Commission, Mary Belle Pate was the only resident to comment during the regular morning meeting.

A staunch advocate of the ban, Pate said she expects it will become a city-wide policy. She doesn’t think it would be a financial hardship for landlords.

“I look at this as improving neighborhood values for all of us,” she said.

City Council members will issue a final vote at their next regular meeting Sept. 18.

Commissioners John Buxton and Adam Terando were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.


6 thoughts on “Planning Commission Approves Front-Yard Parking Rules

  1. Financial burden on landowners? Really?? Quick google search and I found gravel that could be delivered and spread into my yard to cover 380 sq ft for about $100 ($150 dollars if I wanted to put a subbase down first). This story is about landlords that take advantage of the low supply and high demand for rental properties near campus and are unwilling to spend money on upgrades.

  2. What’s next Mike? You going to use your new HOA, meaning the city council, to dictate what color your neighbor’s front door should be?

  3. Hey Mike the $150 is a nice starting point. Think that rock spreads itself? What about the permenate boarder reqirement for folks that wish to use rock? Tree removal? The time required to plan and execute the project? Not only are the “landlords” affected, but so to are the homeowners with several drivers at home. Another case of “the government knows best” how you can use and enjoy your property. Don’t think! we have government officials for that!

  4. Charlie, well, I’m sure you can find somewhere where you can park in your yard just feet from your outdoor sofa. I’m sure there are some great communities in Mississippi or Mexico that will fit your aesthetic. Hell, maybe you can find somewhere where you can unhitch your mobile home and park right in front of it. I’m sure your neighbors wouldn’t mind.

    If only we could be more like the libertarian utopia that is Somalia: No infrastructure and no government meanies telling you that you can’t park in your front yard.

  5. The $150 quote included spreading the gravel.

    JeffS, come with a valid argument. An intelligent person knows the difference between a door color and a 2000 lb piece of metal parked on grass/dirt in a front yard.

    Our city govt is interested in improving our city and for people to take responsibility for their property and actions. Why fight that?

    The remedies are very easy options: park on the street or construct a parking pad (however cheaply you want to do it). Yet, all people want to see from this is BIG GOVERNMENT GETTIN BIGGER TELLIN ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY RIGHTS MY LAND MY FREEDOM. Really? We’re talking about just making your yard look nicer. Maybe Phillo is right, I hear Somalia is nice this time of year and you they won’t ‘steal your freedom’ of parking your car in your front yard. ha.

  6. My entire front yard is fiber reinforced soil and then sodded. I did this many years ago so that if I needed to park in the yard I could without damage. It was an engineered “green” solution to address this situation. If I were to pave extra parking it would have then created more impervious surface causing more run-off. We all know we don’t want that. This solution was researched many years ago at NCSU…you know, that little university up the street that its students are causing all of the problems. Anyway, It’s my yard and I’ll park all over it.