The Front Yard Parking text change, TC-07-09, is back on the Comprehensive Planning Committee’s agenda this week. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 5:00 pm at City Council Chambers (222 W. Hargett Street). The most recent updates to the text change are up for discussion.
An important item being proposed in conjunction with this text change is that it would include an overlay district focused mainly on Southwest Raleigh. This means that the majority of Raleigh in the city limits would not be impacted by this text change. See the proposed overlay boundaries below.
As I understand the latest version, the text change redefines the amount of front yard area that can be used for parking at a single family, detached dwellings. Currently, the limit is set at 40% of a front yard, however, it does not define what a parking pad is. The proposed ordinance states that vehicle surfaces should be “constructed of permanent, nonerodible surface treatment.” It then goes on to list a variety of materials that would be permitted.
The proposed text change allows for a 12-foot driveway, which starts from the driveway curb-cut and extends to the linear depth of the front yard. For most people, their driveway terminates at a car port or a garage. An additional 380 square feet would be allowed for parking pads under this text change, but not if the total area exceeds 40% of the front yard area.
A major change which has flip-flopped in each version is the more versus less than 40%. This version includes a 12-foot driveway + 380 square feet or 40% of the front yard area, whichever is less.
All in all, this would allow for a parking area that would allow approximately four vehicles to park in the front yard area on a defined pad. If TC-07-09 is approved by City Council, vehicles would no longer be able to park on the grass in residential front yard areas (as defined by the ordinance).
Note, this ordinance does not impact side yards or on-street parking. Also, side yard pads are not calculated in the allowable dimensions. There are a few specifications for any parking pads constructed perpendicular (up to 45°) where vegetation would need to be added.
Update: This text change/overlay district as proposed does not cover any corner lots, properties that are located and only have street access (curb cut) to a thoroughfare or neighborhoods less than 25 years of age.
If you are interested in this text change, we encourage you to attend the meeting on January 25 or contact members of the Comprehensive Planning Committee: Councilors Russ Stephenson (chair), Bonner Gaylord, and Randy Stagner. If you have any questions, add them to the comments and our community can try to address them.
Update (1/28/12) Here is a follow-up article from the Raleigh Public Record on the results of the Comprehensive Planning sub-committee meeting: Front-Yard Parking Rules Need More Work.
If you’re not familiar with what front yard parking looks like, below are a few examples. Supporters claim that front yard parking has environment impacts such as soil compaction and erosion, while also hurting the neighborhood curb appeal. The opposition claims that making additional parking areas using the list of approved materials would be a financial hardship.