North York councillors are cracking down on homeowners with illegal front yard parking pads, even if it means possibly losing votes in the upcoming municipal election.
Within just a few blocks of each other in Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence, there are at least 100 illegal front yard parking pads mixed in with 95 legal spots.
Councillor Howard Moscoe has been hearing complaints for years about illegal parking pads.
“A lot of people in my ward resent the fact they have to pay for a legal pad and are paying an annual fee around $100,” Moscoe said. “And their neighbours, who have illegal pads, don’t pay.
“The anger over that has reached a point of seething.”
He said the problem dates back to pre-amalgamation days. Since amalgamation, homes in the former City of York were bought and sold with both legal and illegal or unlicensed front yard parking, according to a city staff report on the matter.
In response, council’s passed a two-year pilot project to address illegal front yard parking in an area bounded by Eglinton, Hopewell and Marlee Avenues and Dufferin Street.
Anyone in this area with an illegal spot will have three options under the new pilot project, which begins in 2011.
If it meets the current requirements, the owner will be notified and they must submit an application within 14 days for a permit. Failure to do so will result in the pad being removed.
If landscape improvements need to be made to be in compliance, the property owner would also have to complete those changes and still submit a permit application.
The last scenario is for those who have illegal spots that aren’t setback sufficiently from the street to be deemed safe.
They will be notified and the city will remove their parking pad and offer them a year of free on-street parking.
Moscoe said he realizes it’s not an ideal situation.
“My colleagues call this the kamikaze pilot project,” he said. “As a councillor you can’t win because it’s an unpopular thing to do.”
But this solution is cheaper than a property owner being fined about $400 if caught with an illegal pad and then paying $200 to apply to make it legal, said Moscoe.
Besides the convenience of having parking in front of your house, it also increases the property value.
“Your home is valued at $30,000 less if it doesn’t have parking on site,” said Moscoe.
The fact some homeowners aren’t paying for the parking privilege while others are, is an issue of fairness, says one resident.
“I bought a house in the area and paid extra for parking,” said Domenic Ianni, who lives at Rogers Road and Oakwood Avenue.
He said it’s also dangerous to cycle around the poorly constructed illegal parking pads.
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