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Front-Yard Parking Debate Back in Gear

Posted September 13, 2007

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— A City Council member has revived the long-simmering debate over front-yard parking, calling for strict limits on vehicles sitting on lawns.

City codes allow resident to park on up to 40 percent of their front yards, but Councilman Thomas Crowder said he would like to limit parking to paved surfaces or areas covered with at least four inches of crushed stone.

"It is a very large eyesore," Crowder said of lawns crowded with vehicles. "We have to deal with the quality of life and environmental issues that are attached to that."

The debate over yard parking has been on and off for several years in Raleigh. Some groups, like college students, have opposed it; some city officials said a blanket rule isn't needed since the issue crops up only in a few neighborhoods; and no one can agree on who would enforce any new rules.

Elizabeth Byrd, president of the West Raleigh Citizens Advisory Committee, said she supports Crowder's idea. So does resident Mark Vanderborgh, who notes the environmental benefits of not parking on lawns.

"Over time, you keep pushing down (the grass), killing it. It's not going to grow back once that happens," Vanderborgh said. "You (then) have this little impervious surface, (and when) the rain comes, it washes all those little particles of dirt downstream and, in this case, into our stormwater."

But members of the Raleigh Antique Automobile Club said Crowder's proposal would hurt their hobby.

"You need working room," club president Michael Soehnlein said. "(My car) has been (parked) out front while the garage was being used for other things."

68 Comments

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  • Steve Crisp Sep 15, 2007

    "I say let the cars sit in the yards, but not allow more than three people the same age to hang out there."

    Well, there goes gramps Thursday night bridge games. And forget juniors fourth birthday party. I suppose that the all night study session for the Chem E final is out of the question as well?

    Unforeseen consequences are the hazards of good intentions.

    But just watch Crowder change his proposal. The last time he did this, he wanted to require all sorts of things like the gravel and percentage of yard that could be paved. But he also included in that the mandate that certain types of bushes be planted to delineate the driveway so that it would not be an eyesore to him; apparently he does not like unbordered driveways. Unfortunately, he assured everyone several years prior re the Avent West overlay that he would NEVER draft a residential ordinance requiring the specific planting of shrubbery. We called him on it. He went away for a bit. Now the liar is back. So watch your backs.

  • djofraleigh Sep 15, 2007

    I've lived where no zoning was in effect, and having a nice house next door suddenly become a business where trucks come in all hours of the late night and early morning is disturbing, and if you decide to move, suddenly, you find you can't find anyone that wants to live there...so there you are. What bothers us more than the trucks were the gangs of chicken catchers talking and carrying on. Human voices will wake you up and keep you awake.

    I say let the cars sit in the yards, but not allow more than three people the same age to hang out there. My neighborhood endured the 'house from hell' a few years. Sheriff coming weekly, and many other indignities seen, until the owner was sent away for LIFE for drug dealing...no kidding. The next owner didn't understand why we were all so happy to see her move in. All in all, most people are able to live around others. Imagine those living with shared walls and whose ceilings are another's floor! I remember that.

  • WRALSUCKS Sep 15, 2007

    Angora: Your needle is stuck in the wrong groove....

  • Steve Crisp Sep 15, 2007

    But someting else y'all may find interesting about Crowder...

    I built a really nice shed, the Taj Ma Shed in fact, in my back yard in order to store and sort my baseball cards. AC, heat, DirecTV, and internet connection. Really cool. Anyway, the last time I tangled with Crowder on this issue, in his delusional fantasies, he went to the city inspectors office and claimed that I was using the building as a residence. The inspector came out and I was more than glad to show her that Crowder was nothing more than a vindictive and manipulative busy-body whose worth to our community is not only limited, but a detriment. To protect her, I won't relate her comments in return.

    That is not the only time something like that has happened with Crowder. He wants his little feifdom and will not relent until he gets it. Fortunately, there are a sufficient number of adults around to put him in his place.

  • Steve Crisp Sep 15, 2007

    Uh...angora...

    This is not the Quets story; this is a story about front yard parking. Even if it were the Quets story, I asked on quesiton about signing contracts under duress without any qualification to that question. I had no other posts in that thread nor did I have any opinion in that story. But in light of elcid's response and a smattering of information, I would tend to agree that Quets signed the adoption papers under duress and there is a question as to their validity. So we agree. I guess that makes you also a bag of hot air.

    As to the English 101 comment, sometimes I have to be condescending so that folks like you can follow the discussion.

    Are your medication levels adjusted properly?

  • enderby Sep 15, 2007

    To the Quets story Angora commented "What high school did you attend?" to point out another poster's grammatical errors. This is pretty amusing in light of the posts to Steve Crisp. Whatever floats your ego, sweetie pie.

  • common_sense_plz Sep 14, 2007

    who is allowing the city council have this much power? This is absoutly nuts, for them to tell you what you can and cannot do with and to your property as far as how many cars you have and where you can park them. Every time I turn around we continue to become more and more communist. Sure if cars have set in teh yards for years and not been worked on, yes they need to be removed and we all know that happens only in certain locations. Plus the insurance company looks at stranded undriven cars in yards as hazards and give you certain amt. of time to remove them or they will either go up on your home owners or completely drop your coverage.....That should be enough.

  • angora Sep 14, 2007

    "Go back to English 101."

    Mister Crisp, you assume that English 101 from your era is still in vogue. As an aging editor myself (and older than you, I might add), I have learned that rules change continually, despite my (or anyone else's) feelings of distaste toward new style guides. I must agree with other commentors that you use this post to be condescending to others. Some people need that boost, I suppose. In your mind, putting others down makes you look better to yourself (but not to us). Whatever floats your boat, honey.

  • angora Sep 14, 2007

    "I happen to know Allison. The family in Apex are NOT adoptive parents - they are legal custodians. There is a difference. When Allison signed custody to them, within an HOUR she changed her mind, and no one would help. She was sicker than most of us can ever imagine being ( hyperemesis is a horrible condition!) and had been locked in an attorney's office in Florida for HOURS before she finally signed. She even called 911 for help, and help never came. The only ones with mental problems is legal system as a whole ( NC and FLA) as well as the family in Apex."
    Mr. Crisp, methinks you are what is known as a bag of hot air.

  • Steve Crisp Sep 14, 2007

    If no ordinance existed prohibiting commercial activity in residential neighborhoods and such activity were to have a widespead impact on the nature of those residential areas, (transient heavy traffic, excessive noise, varment homes, obnoxious smells, and other clear detrements to residential life) then I would be in favor of an ordinance prohibiting it. But that ordinance would have to be put in place city wide and ratified by the city council after public hearings. I would not approve of a small group of people getting together, coming up with their own ideas of what their neighborhood should look like, then sneak it in under the door as an ordinance using their overlay scheme and have it applied to only one neighborhood.

    Personally, I would have no issue with a wrecker service and parts yard located on the property next to me provided they maintained their property to eliminate rats and snakes. But that's just me. I have a much higher tolerance for certain things.

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