Oakwood City Council
What: Discussion about residential parking ordinance
When: 7 Monday night
Where: Oakwood City Hall, 4035 Walnut Circle
A proposed ordinance restricting parking in residential areas returns to the Oakwood City Council Monday night.
The issue, which particularly addresses the number of vehicles allowed in the front of a house, has gone through several meetings before the council and the Oakwood Planning Commission since first surfacing in late February.
The council held a public hearing in March, drawing neither opponents nor supporters. After much discussion, it decided to put off voting until after holding a work session in mid-March.
“My expectation is they would take it off the table (Monday night) and do something with it,” City Manager Stan Brown said last week. “But then again, they don’t have to. It could stay (suspended).”
Council members and city officials have generally agreed the issue needs to be addressed.
Filling up the front of a house with cars not only is unsightly but environmentally unfriendly, particularly when it rains, officials have said.
Mud can spread from private property to public streets and “get into our stormwater system,” said Joe Hayes, the city’s building inspector/code enforcement officer.
The ordinance would change city code to allow no more than 35 percent of the front yard of a single-family residence be used for parking, with two additional parking spaces permitted to the side or rear of a residence.
Also, all vehicles must be parked on an all-weather surface.
There’s no wording in the city’s code now to limit the number of cars parked in front of a house.
At past meetings, Brown has showed pictures of various houses in the community with cars strewn across their front lawns.
“As far as, do you make somebody have to go out there and gravel part of the lot, pave it, asphalt, concrete ... I think those are questions the council needs to decide,” Brown said at the council work session.
“Is that something you want to put on the homeowner or not?”
The proposed ordinance also addresses recreational and commercial vehicles, including school buses. If the ordinance is approved, those vehicles would have to be parked to the side or rear of a residence on all-weather surfacing. Current city code only addresses recreational vehicles.
Concern was voiced over whether or not homeowners with limited property would be able to fit those particular vehicles to the side or in the backyard.
“My biggest thing is this,” Councilman Sam Evans has said. “If we’re going to do something, we’ve got to enforce it. It has to be enforced fairly.”
“That’s why it needs to be something that people can comply with,” Brown said.
Approval of the ordinance will require two affirmative votes before it would become effective. The final vote could take place in May.
Meanwhile, the public has been quiet on the issue. In addition to the no-show public hearing, Brown said he has gotten little feedback.
“The only response I’ve had is a couple of emails from people who said they supported it,” he said.
The Times stopped by a few houses mentioned by city officials as where heavy parking occurs, but residents either didn’t respond to knocks on the door or declined to comment on the issue.