So the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted tonight to defer a vote on an ordinance that would ban parking in your yard. Understandably, people were upset. I live in a part of Lake Forest where there are LOTS of people who are parking in their yards, because there simply isn’t enough parking in the (tiny) driveways and garages for all their 90 cars. I must admit, I am slightly torn on the issue myself. I fully support banning parking in yards. It just looks, lol, unsightly and hurts people’s property values.
Alderman Broeker said something* tonight about it that I fully agree with. If we go ahead and ban parking in yards, but continue to disallow parking in the streets, we are setting people in neighborhoods like mine up to either cause the codes department to be running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to ticket everyone who parks in their yards (I swear, there would be AT LEAST 20 violations on my street alone) or else it would be an ordinance without any teeth, it would be outlawed and people would park in their yards anyway.
I say there is a simple solution to this, and if you go back far enough in the archives on this site, you’ll see that I have been asking for this for years. Allow parking on the streets, but on one side of the street only and only where there are signs allowing it. Go to any big city and see how they handle it. No, La Vergne is not a big city but in many of its neighborhoods it definitely faces a big city problem and that is one of parking. Additionally, if the city allows parking with a parking sticker which is bought yearly and costs, say, $30 a year, then I’d think the city would be able to hire someone full time to enforce that specific code.
To me, that solves a lot of problems. The reason they outlawed parking on the streets to begin with is because former boards allowed the developers to build tiny little streets that make it impossible for emergency services vehicles to get through if people are parked on the street. I get that. But honestly, people parking in their yards looks BAD. And whether we approve of other people having eleventy cars at their house or not, the truth is that people have got to have somewhere to park, especially when they are having visitors or if they’re like me and have more adults with vehicles living in their house than they have parking spaces.
A lot of the people at the Citizens’ Comments tonight at the meeting, spoke to people with junk cars in their yards, but in my neighborhood, junk cars are a miniscule part of the problem. These people drive their cars home at night and park them in the yards, and then during the day, they go to work so during the day many of the yards on my street look like mud wrestler pits. And while I completely support mud wrestling, I absolutely do not support people bringing my property value down.
This is a very real problem in our city and if we want to move forward and clean the place up, I urge the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to consider taking this step before they outlaw parking in yards. Otherwise, as Alderman Broeker said*, we are setting our citizens up to fail.
*With apologies to Alderman Broeker for my rough paraphrasing of what he said. He said it much more eloquently during the meeting than I can say it here.