July 26, 2004
Dozens of homeowners have been forced to stop leaving cars and RVs in their front yards in the nearly one year since Scottsdale has started enforcing a new parking ordinance.
The city has just one, possibly two unresolved violations of the city’s first restrictions on front yard parking, said Raun Keagy, director of the city’s Code Enforcement unit.
About 47 citations have been written since Aug. 1 — and most violators quickly got in line with the ordinance after that, Keagy said. Fines are $250.
The ordinance is credited with eliminating the worst blight by homeowners who filled yards with recreational and other vehicles. But beyond that, the ordinance’s impact is a source of contention.
Those who fought for the ordinance thought the problem was more widespread than a few dozen homeowners who parked in their yards. They wanted — and still want — tighter restrictions or bans on RVs.
Too many homeowners continue to park junky cars or trucks or RVs at the sides of their homes, said Darleen Petersen, who has spent years advocating a parking ordinance. Though legal, the parking still makes neighborhoods appear junky, she said.
"The ordinance isn’t strong enough," Petersen said.
Others argue the number of citations is proof that yard parking isn’t a problem in a city that writes nearly 16,000 code violations a year.
"It would seem to me the job is being done," said George Knowlton, a former member of the Neighborhood Enhancement Commission who likes the new ordinance as it is.
Anything stricter would infringe on private property rights and force homeowners to pay steep storage fees if they had to park elsewhere, Knowlton said.
A bigger problem, Knowlton said, involves landlords who don’t adequately maintain their properties. The city should target those properties to fight blight and not worry about additional parking regulation, Knowlton said.
The city allows parking of cars, boats and RVs in up to 35 percent of a front yard or 30 feet, whichever is less. Parking is only allowed on gravel or pavement. Before the ordinance, people could fill their yards with vehicles — which did occur in some south Scottsdale neighborhoods.
The City Council plans to review the ordinance by fall. Councilman Bob Littlefield said it’s unclear if the council might support changes, as four of its members are new and haven’t discussed the issue in public. Whatever the council does, Littlefield said there will still be public division.