A new ordinance that would restrict where Annapolis homeowners could park their cars and boats has Eastport residents fuming.
"Making a new law just because a few folks that are in violation of common sense and courtesy is like using a cannon to kill a mosquito," said Kathryn Weber.
The ordinance, proposed by Alderman Ross Arnett (D-8th Ward), would limit the storage of any motorized vehicle "to garages, streets, or city authorized driveways or parking lots within a residential zoning district."
The fine would be $25 for the first violation, and $25 per violation per day for repeat or continuous violations.
Arnett said members of the Eastport Civic Association came to him and made a request that something be done about automobiles parked on lawns.
"We may have overdone it, but the essential notion was we wanted to have some controls on the number of vehicles that were parked on any one lot," Arnett said. "Automobiles parked on lawns create an impervious surface and many people also consider it to be unsightly."
The complaints have been about cars on front lawns, but the law would apply 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," said Cheryl Jersey Lecourt. "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."
Lecourt added that many of her neighbors store their boats in the backyard during the winter.
Alderman Ken Kirby (D-6th Ward) and Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson (D-4th Ward) raised concerns about this issue at the council's Oct. 22 meeting.
"I’ve been asked a number of times about cars parking on front lawns on some of these smaller streets and how unsightly it is," Kirby said. "I just don’t want to create a problem for those folks who do have boats in their backyards."
The Department of Neighborhood and Environmental Programs (DNEP) also raised concerns at the October meeting about whether people could skirt the law by simply laying gravel on their yard.
"Putting down gravel doesn't require city approval," said DNEP director Maria Broadbent. "We can certainly enforce this as written to include parking on the grass, but with parking on the gravel, you may want to look at this a little more closely."
Arnett said the law could certainly benefit from "some refinements," which he hopes will be made at a Rules and City Government meeting.