Local News

Front-Yard Parking Debate Back in Gear

Posted September 13, 2007 6:39 p.m. EDT
Updated September 13, 2007 6:56 p.m. EDT

— 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."