Last week City Attorney Sean Surrisi told council members he is still working on ideas for restricting parking in front yards.
Mayor Mark Senter provided council members with copies of six different communities from around the country that have restrictions for front-yard parking: Griffin, IN; South Bend, IN; a town in Missouri; Greensborough, North Carolina; a community in Texas and Colorado. Mayor Senter said, “Some are similar and some are different. It sounds like they try and solve this obviously for the beautification of the neighborhoods but also for environmental reasons.” He went on to explain cars leaking oil and antifreeze or whatever can seep into the ground causing issues.
A few of the ordinances presented have restrictions requiring vehicles to be parked on gravel but most require concrete or asphalt.
Mayor Senter said, “This is going to be hard to get this through. I have received comments from people on both sides and it’s going to be a hairy issue.”
Councilman Robert Listenberger said he’s heard from citizens on both sides of the restriction as well as Councilman Don Ecker who has only had two communications, one that was totally for the ordinance and one that was totally against. He went on to say, “As a homeowner I would think you would want to maintain the value of your property. And by that, finding ways to keep vehicles off the grass. The risk is if you allow those things to happen on the ground that is not prepared for leaks from vehicles you are risking environmental issues.” He also noted that landlords should be aware of the negative affects front yard parking could cause when they try to sell off their investments.
Mayor Senter read a Facebook Messenger comment he received about the issue and the person said they park in the yard because of so many accidents on the street. They said they take care of their yard and also have a trailer parked in the yard. The concerned citizen said both he and his wife both work different hours which gets in the way with two vehicles. They are willing to put gravel in if necessary to avoid fines from the ordinance.
Mayor Senter said, “These are the types of issues we will be facing.” He said, “This citizen was very nice about it but there will be some people who will want to fight this just like wearing a mask at Walmart.”
Councilman Jeff Houin said opinions on this issue will be very strong on both sides. “That’s why we need to take our time and make sure that it’s well thought-out and planned,” said Houin.
Councilman Randy Longenacker said the city will have to determine what the front-yard is if they move forward with some kind of ordinance. He said homes located on a corner lot could have two front-yards and the ordinance will have to define exactly what will be considered the front yard.
The Plymouth Common Council will continue looking at the possibility of creating an ordinance that would restrict parking in front yards.