New Kouts front yard parking bill up for approval

2013-10-23T00:00:00Z New Kouts front yard parking bill up for approvalPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com
October 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

KOUTS | The redrafted version of the controversial ordinance restricting front yard parking in residential areas will be up for final approval at the town Council's November meeting.

It was introduced at Monday's meeting, but the council agreed with Council President Tim Jones's request to postpone final action for a month. The ordinance was first approved in August after several months of discussion and then withdrawn at the September meeting after about a dozen residents appeared and protested.

The council held a workshop about a week later at which about 30 residents suggested changes in the language. Jones said all the changes were written into the new version of the ordinance. The ordinance was inspired by a handful of properties that were parking several cars in the front yards, which neighbors complained detracted from the value of their property.

The new version still requires that all legally licensed motorized vehicles must be parked on a "hard surface," defined as pavement, cement, paving blocks or crushed stone. Parking on dirt or grass is not allowed because it can disrupt drainage. Non-motorized vehicles that the previous ordinance said had to be parked behind the front line of the house would now be allowed to be parked in the back yard too.

Non-motorized vehicles can be parked temporarily in front of a home for loading or unloading and for 24 hours during a social event or garage sale. Violations could result in a $50 fine.

Jones said he wanted to wait "until it was published in the news before we act on it." Some residents said in September they weren't aware of the first ordinance because they don't read the newspaper. It also will be posted on the police and the town's Web site.

Another ordinance was introduced that would place responsibility for the maintenance of the sidewalks with the property owners. Jones said someone fell on a sidewalk downtown recently because it had cracked and a portion heaved up. The incident brought out the fact the town had no ordinance dealing with the maintenance of the sidewalks.

"The economic development commission put in the sidewalks downtown, but that was a gift to the businesses and they have to maintain them," Jones said.

The ordinance could be acted on at the November meeting.

 

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