Lawn parking ordinance passes


Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 28, 2008 at 11:57 p.m.

A new ordinance that would prevent residents in the Forest Ridge-Henderson Heights neighborhood from parking on lawns was approved on first reading Monday night by the Gainesville City Commission.

In other action, the commission sent a proposed ordinance that would enforce greater insulation in houses back to committee for re-evaluation.

There was no discussion by commissioners about the parking ordinance, which is aimed largely at students who have moved into the single-family neighborhood.

Many residents of the neighborhood attended the meeting and two spoke in favor of the ordinance.

Forest Ridge residents had to get at least 60 percent of the 280 homeowners within the subdivision to agree to the plan.

This is the first such "parking overlay" to come before the commission, and it requires a second vote before final approval by the commission on Feb. 11.

The ordinance could limit parking to driveways, which are defined by both specified dimensional requirements and ground cover.

In the other action, the commission debated an ordinance that would regulate the amount of insulation in attics to increase heating and cooling efficiency in homes.

Incentives already encourage homeowners to increase the amount of insulation, but this ordinance would make the depth of insulation enforceable by code.

A long line of homeowners and landlords spoke against the issue, calling it an undue burden that would cost them money and be unenforceable.

Commissioners Ed Braddy and Rick Bryant spoke against the ordinance, and wanted it to be rejected outright rather than sent back to committee.

Bryant pointed out that when the issue comes back to the commission a second time, following today's city elections, neither he nor Braddy would be on the commission.

"It's a major shift when you go from incentives to code enforceable. That is a major philosophical shift," Bryant said.

"Why not stick with the carrot approach? Why don't we double the incentives if this is so important?" asked Bryant.

Commissioner Craig Lowe countered that the incentives don't assist renters who are paying the utilities in inefficient homes.

"The current incentives we have are useful to owner-occupied homes, but give very little incentive to homes where someone rents. This is really the only way we have to address that problem," Lowe said.

After much debate the commission sent the issue back to committee to consider increasing the time for houses to come into compliance from one year to two years and to consider an increase in need-based incentives.

Megan Rolland can be reached at 338-3104 or megan.rolland@ gvillesun.com.

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