From The Star
City moves to curb front yard parking
Some `driveways' fill entire yard
Front pads only a `last resort': Staff
May 31, 2006. 05:46 AM
CITY HALL BUREAU
Tighter, more consistent rules are needed to control front yard parking, Toronto councillors have agreed.
A joint session of the city's works and planning committees voted to support new rules that will continue to block front yard parking in the city core and most parts of the former suburban areas.
They also supported imposing limits on the width of ever-expanding "driveways" that in some cases occupy the entire front yard.
And they said more residents should have to respond to the city's neighbourhood polls on front yard parking if they're to be considered valid.
"It's an attempt to harmonize while still recognizing we have vastly different areas of development," said Councillor Shelley Carroll, chair of the works committee.
A staff report on the proposed new rules sets out the city's attitude bluntly: "In some areas of the city there is a legitimate need to consider a front yard parking pad — but we are treating it only as a last resort."
Residents in the north, east and west ends of the old City of Toronto have been allowed to apply for front yard parking, and that would continue if the proposed new rules are adopted.
But proposed new rules, which would apply across the city, would restrict the size of front yard parking spots:
Lots less than 15 metres wide would have to keep at least 50 per cent of the front yard as landscaped open space.
Lots wider than 15 metres would have to have to keep at least 60 per cent of the yard as landscaped space.
The proposals also limit the width of driveways:
Lots less than 6 metres wide could have a driveway no more than 2.6 metres wide ;
Lots 6 to 23 metres wide would have a driveway no more than 6 metres wide (19.7 feet);
Lots more than 23 metres wide could have a driveway no more than 9 metres wide.
In neighbourhoods where some residents have requested front yard parking, the city has polled residents along the street before granting permission.
Under current rules, at least 25 per cent of the residents must petition for a poll, and 50 per cent of those responding to the poll must approve, if front yard parking is allowed on a street or block.
That standard should be toughened, councillors decided: From now on, at least 50 per cent of the residents should have to petition for a poll to be held; and at least 60 per cent of those responding to the poll must vote Yes for it to be approved.
Front yard parking areas that were legally permitted under old rules should be allowed to remain, councillors agreed. But they said new enforcement officers should be hired to force the removal or reduction of front yard spaces that were illegal at the time they built.
Councillor Kyle Rae (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) said the city's record of cracking down on illegal front yard parking spaces in his area has been "appalling."
I can't decide if this is for better aesthetics or a cash-grab, or both. I agree there should be stricter guidelines though.