, Port Arthur, Texas

January 4, 2010

Parking in yards problem in Groves

By Sherry Koonce

The News staff writer

Vehicles parked in the grass in residential front yards or along the sides of homes is more than an eyesore — it detracts from the neighborhood and from what city officials have been trying to do for several years.

City Council members met Monday to discuss the possibility to amending city codes to prohibit parking on the grass in the front and side yards of residentially developed districts.

“We have been working really hard for the last several years to establish the peace and dignity of neighborhoods,” D. Sosa, city manager, said.

Vehicles in question are those parked in the grass for lengthy time periods, not those parked occasionally in the grass because the driveway or street is full. Many of the cars causing neighborhood blight are inoperable.

While the city is not overrun with people parking in their grassy yards, Sosa said the practice could become commonplace if not addressed now.

At Monday’s meeting, City Council heard the recommendation of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission from a Dec. 15 meeting. Next step is for the city to set a date for a public hearing to consider the matter.

Sosa said the city had received calls from neighbors and from people moving into the city complaining about some residences where cars are parked in areas other than driveways and streets.

Steve Sanborn, city of Groves building official said he made a cursory inspection of the city and forwarded 25 photos of vehicles parked in grassy areas.

“This is not for someone who does this occasionally; it is for those people who do it 365 days a year,” Sosa said.

During the public hearing, Sosa said City Council will consider the matter.

“If we get a full house of people who say this is not something they want to do as a city, then we will listen,” Sosa said. “We don’t want to shove anything down anyone’s throat if it is not wanted.”

A similar ordinance was adopted by the city of Port Arthur last January.