Alderman Withdraws Controversial Parking Law
Alderman Ross Arnett says he plans to modify his proposal and introduce a "more carefully crafted" bill in the new year.
An ordinance that would have restricted where Annapolis homeowners could park their cars and boats has been withdrawn due to strong public opposition.
"Too many people were confused by it," Alderman Ross Arnett (D-8th Ward) said. "I was also concerned about some of the unintended consequences."
Arnett proposed the ordinance in October, which limited the storage of any motorized vehicle "to garages, streets, or city authorized driveways or parking lots within a residential zoning district."
The frustration for Eastport residences was that the law would have applied to any area of a person's property—including prohibiting someone from storing a boat in a backyard.
"We are the sailing capital; the boating industry is huge in this town," Cheryl Jersey Lecourt told Patch earlier this month. "There are certain instances when we have major regattas when we are asked to remove our boats from our storage areas to bring in out of town boats, and a lot of people do put their boats in the backyard for a week or two."
Arnett said he fielded dozens of angry phone calls and emails about the proposal, and he had more than one person point out that residents could just pave a portion of their yard to bypass the regulation.
"Putting down gravel doesn't require city approval," said Maria Broadbent, director of the Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs.
Arnett plans to meet with the office of law and Broadbent's team to discuss drafting legislation that would create a permitting process for laying gravel and concrete.
"I don't want people to go just slapping down parking slabs," Arnett said. "It interferes with storm water runoff, and I think we ought to be looking at it from an environmental perspective."
He said the ordinance will likely be introduced early in 2013.
Once Annapolis has a permit process for creating driveways, Arnett said he will introduce a modified proposal to address the concerns he still has about people parking multiple cars all over their yards.
A practice that he calls "unsightly."
"When it comes back, it's going to have a much narrower focus," Arnett said. "This is worth doing, and it's worth doing right."