Local News

Chapel Hill clamps down on front-yard parking

Posted July 14, 2011 7:48 a.m. EDT
Updated July 31, 2011 10:50 p.m. EDT

— Town officials say parked vehicles aren't the type of lawn art they desire in Chapel Hill.

Planning officials said Thursday that monitors will begin issuing tickets Aug. 1 to violators of a town ordinance against parking on the front lawn.

Residents of the Pine Knolls and Northside neighborhoods will be the first to be reviewed because town leaders say they have noticed a particular increase in parking eyesores in those areas.

"It's really designed to get at those properties that cover their lawn with parking and the feeling that it gives to the entire neighborhood when you have a property like that," said Rae Buckley, Chapel Hill's housing and neighborhood services planner.

The town's Land Use Management Ordinance restricts parking and drive areas to 40 percent of the front yard area and requires that the area be covered with all-weather surface or gravel.

Buckley said the majority of the problem is with rental units where multiple students live.

"When you have four, five, six, seven, eight students, they may all have their own cars," she said.

Robert Coleman, who rents a home in Chapel Hill, called the crackdown "petty," saying town officials have bigger concerns than whether his friends pull off the gravel driveway and park in his yard when they visit.

"That seems a little crazy. I don't know," Coleman said. "It kind of seems like a waste, a waste of time, you know. I'm sure they have better things to do than do that kind of thing."

Citations will be issued to property owners, and violators will be given two notices before facing civil penalties of $100 per day. The penalties can be appealed.