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Ordinance banning front yard parking meets contention

Posted at 5:46 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 19:39:34-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi City Council has approved the first reading of an ordinance that would prohibit parking cars in front yards.

The lawn-parking ordinance, which was first considered by the council on Tuesday, isn't sitting well with some folks. It is particularly irksome for those living in the area near Carroll Lane and Weber Road.

The ordinance, which was approved on Tuesday, isn't sitting well with some folks, especially around the areas near Carroll Lane and Weber Road.

Neighbor Bill Chism believes cars in yards shouldn’t affect tourism and he thinks the ordinance is a way for the city to make a quick buck through enforcement.

“What are you going to tell these people that live on Weber, Carroll lane? When those streets were built they were not main drags in this city. They are now," Chism said. "They can’t park on the street."

If you drive on Weber or Carroll north of SPID, you'll see numerous homes with cars parked on the grass.

“Most the people living here are on fixed incomes, now," Chism said. "They can’t afford to go out and pave a driveway for cars. And if it’s a younger couple when they have teenage kids, they’re stuck again.”

There are two exceptions to the ordinance. It doesn’t apply if you don’t have a paved driveway or if the street you live on is too narrow, smaller than 28 feet apart.

City Manager Peter Zanoni said those exceptions are mainly located in older neighborhoods and the inner-city.

Zanoni and city council members said the ordinance addresses a quality of life issue.

“People try to keep up their homes by keeping their front yards looking good," said Zanoni. "By having several vehicles, even one parked in the front lawn, it just kind of detracts from the neighborhood’s overall aesthetics and brings down the quality of life. And so the focus is keeping those neighborhoods strong, keeping the quality of life strong in the neighborhoods making them look good.”

“When you see many cars parked out on front yards rather than in the driveway or on the street, it just creates a blight in the neighborhood," District 2 Councilman Ben Molina said. "And so, we want to help improve our neighborhoods, improve property values and improve the quality of life for the citizens of Corpus Christi.”

Code enforcement would be the ones to keep an eye out for offenders. A fine could be issued up to $500, but Zanoni said that’s not the goal.

“For the first couple of months, probably the first year we’ll be educating," he said. "So, let's educate the community we’re not out there to try and fine people. It's rather, lets educate and work with the community to make sure they understand the quality of life aspect of it. And that’s what our focus will be.”

He added this is one of a series of ordinances being presented to council revolving around quality of life.

“I think this is one of many quality of life ordinances that we’re bringing forward to city council," said Zanoni. "Others include taking care of property that is damaged by a sudden act, like a fire. And so, we’re really focused on improving neighborhoods across the city. This is one step in doing that.”

Zanoni said fines collected by code enforcement go to the city's general fund. It goes to paying for streets, fire and police services.

For the ordinance to pass, it needs a majority vote at the second reading at council's meeting on Tuesday.