Albuquerque drivers may soon have to think twice about where they park their cars in front of their homes.
New city rules are putting some front yard parking off limits.
The rules passed a vote in front of Albuquerque City Council Monday, rewriting what is and isn’t allowed in terms of front yard parking. The rules are now set to take effect on May 17, 2018.
“It’s not that this prohibits front yard parking, but it puts limitation on front yard parking,” said Brennon Williams, deputy planning director for the city of Albuquerque.
The changes come as part of the city’s zoning code rewrite, or the Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO.)
While there are some exceptions along with a process for homeowners to apply for an exemption, the new rules are expected to affect parking for virtually every single residential home in Albuquerque.
“It allows our enforcement people to more clearly understand what the rule is, how to interpret it, how to apply it,” said Williams. “And that helps property owners as well, because they’re able to look at the standards and determine if they are in compliance.”
For most residents, the new rules mean they’ll have to park on “improved surfaces” like concrete, asphalt or crushed gravel.
That means no parking in dirt or grass front yards, like many people currently do. In some places, that type of parking is already off limits, however, Williams says the current rules are confusing and make some enforcement difficult due to varying times that homes were built.
One area where front yard parking is very apparent is near Sandia High School off Candelaria along the various streets named for the United States. Many homes in the area have varying types of one or two car driveways. Some homes have don’t have driveways at all.
Lori Aguilar has a single car driveway for her three bedroom home near Utah and Candelaria.
“We don’t have much space to park because it’s a one car garage,” said Aguilar.
Aguilar frequently parks her car on a gravel patch to the side of her driveway. The city’s new parking standards may make her change that, because the gravel strip may not be considered an improved surface.
“I haven’t ever been able to make it a cement like their house over there,” said Aguilar.
The new rules also say heavy “landscaping gravel” wouldn’t be considered an improved parking surface. Several homes near Aguilar’s have xeriscaped entire yards and driveways with landscaping rock.
“It has to be designed as a front yard parking area, other than just throwing down some gravel,” said Williams.
While drivers like Aguilar wonder exactly how the new city rules will affect them, Williams says the city isn’t planning on doing an “enforcement blitz” once the rules begin. He says the city will participate in a lot of “education” with homeowners on what is and isn’t allowed.
Other neighbors wonder if the new rules will mean any type of change.
“I’m not certain that enforcement of that is going to be any easier than it was in the past,” said Wendy Shanahan of Albuquerque.