Northside and Pine Knolls residents might soon have to limit the number of cars parked at their houses.
If Chapel Hill Town Council approves a plan that is currently in its early stages for the neighborhoods, each residence would face a four-car parking limit.
And Rae Buckley, a member of the Chapel Hill Planning Department, said the parking restriction could also be considered for the rest of Chapel Hill.
The plan is a response to a petition by Sustaining OurSelves Coalition, a collaboration between residents, religious groups and community interest groups advocating for a more cohesive neighborhood.
The group also supported a moratorium enacted in June that stopped development in Northside and Pine Knolls neighborhoods until January.
Since then, the community has been exploring other options to address concerns about gentrification, incompatible development and student rental units.
The town council received an update on their efforts Monday.
Those efforts include the Front Yard Parking Enforcement Pilot Program, which would better enforce a town ordinance that limits front yard parking in proportion to the area of the yard. The program started in August and affects the Pine Knolls and Northside neighborhoods.
Buckley said beyond addressing parking issues, the measure would also serve to enforce a town ordinance that prohibits more than four non-related people from living in one house.
She said some residents may find it hard to adjust to the four-car parking restriction.
“This is an ordinance that is easily enforced, but a downside is having a visitor that can get a ticket,” she said. “There is no room for special situations.”
Buckley has been assisting community groups that want to preserve the neighborhoods’ characters.
Community members have expressed concern about the limit.
Mark Patmore, a landlord in Chapel Hill, said he is opposed to the proposed parking rule.
“I don’t think its right, and it’s people’s right to own a car,” he said.
And Ted Kairys, a landlord of McCauley Trail apartments, said students are not totally to blame for neighborhood parking issues.
“Managers need to be responsible,” he said. “Somebody has to manage the tenants and fine them if necessary.”
Junior Molly Eriksson, who lives in a house on McCauley Street with nine other roommates, said she and seven of her roommates park there.
“We’d all be doomed, I don’t know what we’d do,” she said. “It would be so inconvenient.”
Senior Diana Rabstejnek said a parking limit could cause conflicts between residents living together.
She and her four roommates already have parking issues, she said.
“When we have a guest, we already have to pick them up,” she said.
The Northside and Pine Knolls Community Plan will be presented to the town council for consideration in November.
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