Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Friday, March 16, 2007

Springdale Limits Parking Cars in Front Yards

The City of Springdale has passed some common-sense (but difficult to enforce) rules to reduce the number of vehicles parked in front yards.

An ordinance adopted by the City Council earlier this year will now begin to be enforced. It gives residents the opportunity to build one additional parking space no larger than 9 feet by 19 feet in their front yard. The new space must be landscaped and adjacent and parallel to an existing driveway. Residents are also allowed to pave up to 40% of their front yard for parking, and homes with existing gravel driveways will not be required to pave them.

Violators will be issued a citation on the first offense. After that fines of up to $500 for each offense and $250 per day for continued offenses will be assessed.

At first thought this may seem a bit unnecessary, but drive around the city and you will quickly understand the need for the ordinance. There are many neighborhoods where cars and trucks are parked all over the property. Sometimes the vehicle has a “For Sale” sign on it, other times it is simply a matter of too many vehicles for the size of the driveway. Worse yet are the vehicles in various stages of repair or those that will never again run on their own power.

On the other hand, the large number of vehicles in the yard in some neighborhoods is a reflection of the times. Many older homes and duplexes, for example, have only one-car garages. This may have been adequate in the past, when each family had only one car. But now, many families have more than one breadwinner and multiple vehicles. Older children may also have their own vehicle. There is simply no room to park all of them without parking on the lawn or blocking the street.

Another issue is that in rental areas, landlords could be asked to build additional parking spaces to accommodate their tenants’ needs. Concrete work is not cheap, so to build even one additional park pad can be prohibitively expensive. Also less affluent homeowners may not be able to do so. Luckily the Springdale ordinance allows for homeowners to apply for a variance with the Springdale Planning Commission in hardship cases.

And all of this is related to the issue of affordable housing (or the lack thereof). Increasingly low income area dwellings are home to multiple families, who share the dwelling in order to be able to afford the rent or mortgage payments. And with multiple families come multiple vehicles.

Overall, I think eliminating this eyesore will help maintain property values. But my question is WHERE (for multi-vehicle families in rental or low-income areas) the additional vehicles will be parked if the home’s owner is unwilling or unable to afford to build an additional park pad.

Enforcing this new ordinance is going to be difficult, if not impossible. If vehicles cannot be parked in the yard, they may end up being parked in the street, causing difficulty for traffic. They won’t go away, and fining property owners or tenants will not necessarily solve the problem.

Rogers is considering a similar ordinance.

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