Text Change TC-7-09, Front Yard Parking (FYP) for single family detached dwellings is on the Comprehensive Planning Committee agenda this week. The meeting is on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at 1:00 pm in Room 201, City Council Chambers, at 222 West Hargett Street.
The latest issue being looked at is how homes fronting on thoroughfare roads might be impacted. Planning Director Mitch Silver brought up this topic at last month’s meeting. This will probably be the bulk of the talk at this meeting. Past meetings that I’ve attended have seen support from citizens around the city, with only a few people speaking in opposition to the text change. My opinion is that most citizens would support this text change to improve quality of life issues in their neighborhoods.
Although some HOA’s in the Lineberry Alliance have restrictions on front yard parking in their agreements, not all neighborhoods can currently enforce this. The biggest impact of FYPing are the environmental impacts. Vehicles parking on lawns and under trees damage the soil and roots. Eventually, this creates run-off, which effects water quality in our streams and storm water system.
There are also aesthetic issues. There are many homes for sale and rent in our area and around the city. Some Realtors I know have complained that it’s hard to sell or rent homes that are in close proximity to houses that have cars and trucks parked all over the front yard. People looking to buy or rent have the option to opt out and look elsewhere. Residents who already live in the effected areas are pretty much stuck with the situation. The only limitation that exist now is that parking is restricted to 40% of the front yard.
The way the current [proposed] text change reads, vehicles parked at a single family dwelling would be required to park on a defined parking area. The full details are below, but the Reader’s Digest version says: parking pads will be non-erodible surfaces or crushed stone with permanent borders and parking would be limited to driveways and an additional parking pad, up to 425 sq feet.
Greensboro passed a similar ordinance about a year ago. Since the passage of the ordinance, citizen complaints have revolved around the fact that parking in side yards and rear yards is allowed and citizens are requesting better enforcement on evenings and weekends from the city. As I understand it, some confusion was around what the enforcement was. Once citizens understood that violations would result in fines instead of towing, there was overwhelming support for the ordinance.
See the details below on what this text change involves. I support this text change and urge you to attend the meeting to show your support. If you can not, you can email the members of the Comprehensive Planning Committee: Nancy McFarlane, Bonner Gaylord, and Russ Stephenson.
CITY COUNCIL STUDYING FRONT-YARD PARKING PROPOSAL
The Raleigh City Council is considering a proposal that would restrict front-yard parking at most single-family detached houses in the Capital City.
After studying the issue since July 2009, the Planning Commission in February recommended council approval of an ordinance that amends the City’s regulations on front-yard parking at single-family detached homes. The City Council’s Comprehensive Planning Committee is studying the proposed ordinance and will subsequently make a recommendation to the full council.
In its current form, the proposal before the City Council would affect both new and existing front-yard driveways and parking areas.
New Front-Yard Driveways/Parking Areas
The proposed ordinance would require new front-yard driveways and parking areas:
- To be constructed of non-erodible surfaces or crushed stone with a minimum depth of 4 inches and permanent borders. This provision would not apply to single-family detached homes located in Agricultural Productive (AP), Rural Residential (RR) or Residential-2 (R-2) zoning districts. New driveways and parking areas would be limited to the driveway and to an additional 425 square feet (about the size of two parking spaces), or 40 percent of the front-yard area, whichever is greater;
- To have vegetative screening. This would apply to parking areas that face the side property line. Vegetative screening would be required along the sides of the parking space facing the side property line and parallel to the street; and,
- To be subject to a plot plan review by the City of Raleigh. The City would normally require homeowners to obtain a zoning permit fee of $72 prior to the construction of a driveway or parking area. The Planning Commission is recommending the fee be waived.
Existing Front-Yard Driveways/Parking Areas
Following are provisions of the proposed ordinance for existing front-yard driveways and parking areas at single-family detached houses:
- Existing driveways and parking areas which are paved or constructed of non-erodible surfaces would not required to conform to new construction standards;
- Existing driveways and parking areas that are not paved or constructed of non-erodible surfaces would be required to comply with the new construction standards within one year. Exempt from this requirement would be single-family detached houses in AP, RR and R-2 zoning districts. Homeowners who cannot afford to retrofit driveways or parking areas to the new construction standards would be restricted to single-file parking in front of the residence’s driveway curb cut. The cost of retrofitting would be anywhere from $500 to $2,000;
- Homeowners would be able to apply for a one-time permit for temporary parking in the front yard of a residence for a period of up to 90 days. The permit, issued by the City’s Inspections Department, would be renewable only one time for a second 90-day period; and,
- Homeowners who opt to retrofit front-yard driveway and parking areas to the new standards would be exempt from paying the required $72 zoning permit fee during the first six months the new ordinance is in effect. The construction would still be subject to the City’s plot plan review.
City staff is currently studying the impact of the proposed front-yard parking ordinance on single-family detached houses located on roads that prohibit on-street parking. Specifically, the City is looking at how visitors to these residences could park at the homes and be in compliance with the new ordinance if the homeowners cannot afford to retrofit their front-yard driveways and parking areas.
The City Council’s Comprehensive Planning Committee is scheduled to discuss the proposed front-yard parking ordinance at its meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. in the council chamber at the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 W. Hargett St. The meeting is open to the public.