Cape Council tackles parking issues
Some common sense needs to be applied to residential parking restrictions in Cape Coral, city officials said Monday.
While many of the rules are justified, there needs to be more practicality applied on what should and shouldn’t be allowed, Cape Coral City Council members agreed during their workshop meeting.
Parking regulations have long been a topic of controversy in the Cape.
Dozens of citizens came to workshop to voice input, both for and against changing the rules that address not only commercial vehicles but the parking of boats, trailers and RVs.
Council spent more than two hours on the matter, half of which was taken up by citizens input.
Most who were there didn’t want to see the parking ordinance changed, saying they moved to Cape Coral for its beauty and that modifying the rules could spoil that.
“I’m not thrilled to see a leisurely boat parked in the driveway. I think boating pollutes the water,” said Steve Fabian. “I’m a CPA and I can’t put a plaque out on my mailbox. Why should people be allowed to have commercial vehicles all over the place?”
Others said the regulations are antiquated and that a little tweaking wouldn’t hurt, especially if, for example, pickup trucks only have company decals.
“I have two years of storage on my boat, as well as a fine for having it in the front yard while I cleaned it and did maintenance. That’s not right,” said Mike Morgan. “I don’t want big semis or dump trucks in the yard, but we need to relax the rules somehow on single-axle vehicles.”
While Council members said the e-mails they have gotten has been pretty much split on the matter, most at the meeting who spoke said they wanted to parking ordinance to stay the same.
Currently, the parking of trailers is prohibited unless in a garage. A boat on a trailer may be parked in the backyard, but not the side, with no limit on the number of boats registered to the property owner. The parking of RVs is prohibited. Cars and SUVs with “wrap” are permitted, while pickups and vans with any lettering are not. Larger trucks and commercial vans also may not be parked on residential property.
Also, parking on the grass is permitted on occupied properties, but prohibited on vacant lots. Parking must be parallel to the driveway and not perpendicular to the right of way.
Council was given options to either maintain the status quo or revise to permit new rules, with factors including, location, size, surface type and other considerations.
Councilmember John Gunter suggested the city take a common-sense approach to the laws.
“Parking six to eight cars on the lawn is not common sense. SUVs and cars can be wrapped in advertisements, while a small truck with a small label can’t,” Gunter said, adding that exceptions to grass parking can be made during holidays when family comes over.
Councilmember Jessica Cosden said there may be more a generational issue as more millennials are moving into town to replace the boomers.
“I don’t want to see a dump truck or a work truck or a semi, but I don’t mind a regular truck with a sign on it,” Cosden said. “What’s the difference between a totally wrapped SUV and a small truck with a sign? Clearly, the SUV is more of an eyesore. Right now, the law is inconsistent and isn’t common sense.”