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Thread: Single family residential parking standards

  1. #1
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
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    Single family residential parking standards

    I did a search, but didn't find what I was looking for.

    What's an effective, legal way to deal with residential over-crowding, specifically vehicular over-crowding?

    The citizenry in a mid-sized residential area is complaining about the proliferation of vehicles parked in driveways/yards of the homes in the neighborhoods.

    To put it in context, the neighborhood was developed in the mid- to late-70s, with single story detached homes: slab-on-grade, shallow pitch roof, car ports, on third- to half-acre lots. Typical affordable tract housing.

    In the past 10 years, the blue-collar 1980s kids left the neighborhood, almost all the older empty nesters left, too, and new families have been able to buy newer homes elsewhere at competitive rates in the past 5-8 years, so the neighborhood has teeter'd on the edge of decline & blight for a while now. Some people are buying the under-valued properties at sub-$100k prices, fixing and flipping for $160s - 180s, but unfortuantely, most of the homes since 2000 have become rentals.

    The rental property is filled with blue collar laborers, mostly immigrant, and often each home is filled with 6-10 permanent residents. Those residents often drive trucks, trailers, panel vans and many of them are 'commercial' vehicles (think ladder racks with 12-14 aluminum ladders, vehicles covered in paint/concrete splatter, etc.), as they are labeled and wrapped with the names of the companies for whom they work.

    Now the remaining residents are complaining, LOUDLY, to the Mayor, City Council and City Manager that they no longer want commercial vehicles allowed to be parked, stopped, standing or stored in these neighborhoods. But how do you limit the right of a guy to park his painter's van in his driveway, but not the R/E agent to park her Lexus SUV in her driveway?

    I've already been commanded to re-write the zoning ordinance to create a residential parking management code (including limiting the number of vehicles per lot in SFR zoning districts to no more than 4 -- this includes trailers, RVs, boats, motorcycles, etc.), and amend the City Code to prohibit on-street parking in these areas at any time.

    Is there any insightful document I can read that'll give me direction on how to manage commercial vehicle parking? Or --my personal belief-- is this really a civil matter that is better handled by an HOA?

  2. #2
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    How fortunate for you that we are dealing with a related issue right now and are amending our zoning accordingly. Ours is really to deal with the parking of commercial vehicles on one's property and assocaited definitions. We are not going as far as you're directed to go (limit parking to 4 vehicles total? - good luck enforcing that). See the attached word document for our text changes.

    People gotta work and if you have nothing but a auto-oriented urban context, what do the neighbors expect?

    And do not leave this to an HOA, that’s leaving the prison to the inmates (or whatever the saying is).

    Also, you could limit the parking of vehicles in front yards, but that would push the vehicles to sides and rear, which may be worse.
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    Last edited by mendelman; 13 Mar 2008 at 1:12 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  3. #3
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WhenIGrowUp View post

    The rental property is filled with blue collar laborers, mostly immigrant, and often each home is filled with 6-10 permanent residents. Those residents often drive trucks, trailers, panel vans and many of them are 'commercial' vehicles (think ladder racks with 12-14 aluminum ladders, vehicles covered in paint/concrete splatter, etc.), as they are labeled and wrapped with the names of the companies for whom they work.
    Have you looked into your definition of "family" for the purposes of determining whether a residence in a single-family zoned neighborhood is functioning in that manner? It might be an alternate way to address your parking issue. We have this in our city because of a large university and problems with cases like six students renting a three bedroom house, resulting in six cars in the driveway and it becoming an Animal House. The regulation also serves to somewhat discourage converting owner-occupied homes to investor-owned rental properties with absentee landlords. From our code:

    Limited Number of Unrelated Individuals. All dwelling units located in SF-R, SF-11, SF-6, SF-4.5, DR, TH, PH-ZL zoning districts shall be restricted to occupancy by a family, and up to one other person who is not related to any of the family members by blood, legal adoption, marriage, or conservatorship.

    Prima facie proof of occupancy of a dwelling unit by more than two unrelated persons is established in any prosecution for violation of this Section if it is shown that the same three or more vehicles with registrations to persons having different surnames and addresses were parked overnight at the dwelling unit a majority of nights in any 21-day period. THis establishment of a prima facie level of proof in this subsection does not preclude a showing of "occupancy" of a dwelling unit by a person in any other manner.

    THe property owner and any agent of the property owner shall be legally responsible for directly or indirectly allowing, permitting, causing, or failing to prohibit the occupancy of a dwelling unit by more than two unrelated persons.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    But how do you limit the right of a guy to park his painter's van in his driveway, but not the R/E agent to park her Lexus SUV in her driveway?
    We prohibit commercial vehicles having signs from parking in Setback areas. Commercial vehicles with signs may park in garage or behind fences.

    We also prohibit all vehicle parking in front yards (on the grass), and overnight parking on the public street (subject to traffic regulations and fine).

    There have been no recent significant complaints about occasional party guest parking of commercial vehicles or occasional repair or service vehicles. Usually a polite information letter quoting current city ordinance provisions seems to solve the problem.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Have you looked into your definition of "family" for the purposes of determining whether a residence in a single-family zoned neighborhood is functioning in that manner? It might be an alternate way to address your parking issue. We have this in our city because of a large university and problems with cases like six students renting a three bedroom house, resulting in six cars in the driveway and it becoming an Animal House. The regulation also serves to somewhat discourage converting owner-occupied homes to investor-owned rental properties with absentee landlords. From our code:
    I believe --and it hasn't been stated to me in specific plain language-- but I believe that we're limiting the number of vehicles per property in an effort to limit the number of unrelateds (read: Hispanic laborers) in the district.

    It's a back door method to prevent over crowding not only in these homes, but city-wide. And really, it's much, much simpler for both the public and Codes Enforcement to drive by and count visible vehicles in 30 seconds, than for C/E to sit on a house for 3 weeks and prove annecdotal stories from the neighbors about who's coming and going.

    We have passed a 'No Parking from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m." ordinance on residential streets, so we're not pushing the cars into the street with this limit, and we're not allowing cars parked on anything other than an improved surface (asphalt, concrete, 3" gravel w/ border, etc.) to keep them out of side and rear yards.

    It's the commandment from on high to remove 'commercial vehicles' from residential parking that is tying me in knots. How do I define a commercial vehicle? I have a tool box in my truck, does that mean I now drive a commercial vehicle? How many cappacino cowboys are there out there driving dually pick up trucks simply for vanity? Are they driving commercial vehicles? They could be used commercially, even if they're not currently being used that way. How do I tell Jose Homeoccupant that he can't park his truck in his driveway? A man's got to make a living...

    I think the definition will center around two things: whether the vehicle displays commercial signage, and the GVWR of the vehicle itself. If you've got the name of your business on the door, it's commercial, and/or if it grosses more than 8800 lbs., it's commercial. I think...

  6. #6
    Cyburbian WhenIGrowUp's avatar
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    Funny update: the parking ordinance went to the Planning Commission last night for its recommendation prior to the hearing at the Mayor & Council meeting next month.

    It turns out that one of the Commissioners owns two cars, two 'big' boats, two PWCs, two kayaks and canoe. Passing the ordinance would legislate him into non-conformance, subjecting him to potential fines and other penalties.

    Needless to say, he was not enthused about the ordinance.

    He railed against it, got the rest of them all worked into a froth about how bad it was, a few people in the audience (there were only 3 people last night) got up and spoke about how awful it was, so the recommendation was for denial.

    They claim that the ordinance should not affect all persons in the city equally, but we should apply the standard only to the problem areas in the city.

    I foresee a work session with the PC to address the concept of 'content neutrality'.

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