The ordinance that would restrict the parking of motor vehicles on residential lawns including the front yard, side yard, and back yards in the City of Plymouth was tabled during Monday evening’s Common Council meeting.

The ordinance which was scheduled for its second reading was discussed between council members and even the public.

Councilman Jeff Houin said in 2020 when the council considered a similar ordinance, he had received several comments both for and against it. He said this time he’s only had one person reach out to him. 

Houin said he has some concerns with the proposed ordinance, the first being the lack of definitions in the ordinance.  He explained, “Specifically it should define motor vehicles or add a more expansive definition because whatever we do, it’s not just a car or a pick-up truck.  We are also concerned with things like campers and trailers and motorcycles and I’m not sure if anything not motorized like a trailer or boat would necessarily fall under this.”  He wanted the city to be clear on what is restricted for lawn parking. 

Houin’s second concern was including the rear yard in the restriction.  He said he understood restricting parking in a front yard lawn area and even in a side yard lawn, but the rear yard is the only place a resident would have left to park and it is behind their house.  His recommendation was to remove the rear yard restriction and define what is the front yard and the side yard. 

Councilman Houin said he did have a resident reach out to him questioning the exemption for Handicap parking with a hang tag or license plate. He said, “Those with handicap permits may need a little more convenience but I’m not sure it should be a permanent exemption.  Maybe we should put a time restriction on it.” 

Mayor Mark Senter asked about the environmental impact in the backyard as opposed to the front or side yard restriction.  Mayor Mark said, “To me, this is an environmental issue, and it says motor vehicles, not trailers.”  Houin said it doesn’t make a difference if oil is leaking onto the road or driveway and washing into the sewer system compared to leaking on the grass.

Councilmembers discussed gravel driveways, driveway permits, and curb cuts, along with concerns about requiring additional hard surfaces and the impact on water runoff.

Councilman Don Ecker he’d been contacted by a small number of citizens when the idea of a parking restriction was talked about in 2020.  This time only a few people have contacted him although they are in favor of a restriction. Ecker said, “In my district, there are several houses where people are parking not only in the front yard but also on the side yard, and what is unfortunately happening is it’s destroying the grass, ruts in the yard because when you have heavy rain, and they still park vehicles there it creates an unattractive situation that impacts property values.”

Ecker said some landlords are renting these properties and the renters are taking advantage of the landlords.  Most rental agreements don’t have parking restrictions included and Ecker said it might be something the city should suggest to landlords.

Bobbie Milliser a Harrison Street citizen said, “It sounds to me like you have a lot of laws that you can enforce right now. So why are you making another one that you can’t enforce?”  She questioned the people who park in their yards and get a $25 ticket.  Milliser wanted to know how often the city will ticket them and where should they park.  She mentioned that Harrison Street has no on-street parking. She asked if the city wanted people to rent a place to park motorhomes or camping trailers instead of having them in the backyard.

City Attorney Sean Surrisi said the proposed ordinance does specifically limit it to lots that abut public streets where parking is permitted and not on streets where no on-street parking is allowed.

Councilman Ecker suggested modifying the current ordinance with some of the comments from the meeting and bringing forth an amended ordinance at their next meeting. 

The Plymouth City Council tabled the second reading of the parking restriction ordinance on residential lawn parking and look at the amended ordinance at their next meeting on July 11th

The following information is the contact info for city council members and the mayor. 

1st District
Duane Culp
816 N Oak Dr
Plymouth, IN 46563
(574) 935-4696
2nd District
Don Ecker Jr
1916 Felix Pl
Plymouth, IN 46563
(574) 952-2509
3rd District
Shiloh Carothers Milner
304 Webster Ave
Plymouth, IN 46563
(574) 767-0356
4th District
Randy Longanecker
880 Baker St
Plymouth, IN 46563
(574) 935-9031
At LargeGreg Compton
713 N Michigan St
Plymouth, IN 46563
(574) 780-5725
At LargeJeff Houin
217 Elliott Ave
Plymouth, IN 46563
(574) 780-0374
At LargeRobert Listenberger
PO Box 1512
Plymouth, IN 46563
(574) 540-3072 
MayorMark Senter
124 N Michigan St
Plymouth, IN 46563
(574) 936-6717