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City of Cayce set to limit parking in parts of some yards after hearing citizen’s complaints

Cayce, SC – 04/20/2021 (Paul Kirby) – The City of Cayce is planning to hold the second reading of a proposed ordinance at their next council meeting that would change their zoning laws that deals with how people park on certain properties. The city's staff said they get numerous complaints every year about how some people park in their yards.

Cayce City Councilman Tim James said during a recent interview, “You wouldn’t believe how many calls about this we all get. This change in the zoning laws would address how people park and hopefully, it will have a positive effect on the look of our neighborhoods.”

The new ordinance was passed by the Planning Commission with a unanimous vote. It was then forwarded to the full council to review. After discussion in March, the council tabled the vote until April so that some adjustments could be made to the draft by their staff. Some of the issues that came up included how new driveways would impact the surrounding areas. They wanted to make sure that any added drives were as “green” as possible. They also wanted to make sure that any changes a property’s owner had to make wouldn’t be overly burdensome. Lastly, they wanted to make enforcement of this law as simple as possible on their city’s staff.

As pointed out earlier, the council voted and passed the changes during the first reading on April 6th. Councilman James said, “A first reading is a time to get a new ordinance out into the public so our citizens can scrutinize it. It’s a fluid document at that point and small or significant changes can be made in it before it comes to the table again for a second reading.”

If the current draft makes it through a second reading, presumably in May of this year, it wouldn’t be effective until 180 days after that vote. During that time, Cayce’s staff would work to educate property owners on the regulations and work with them to help them comply.

In the current form, the ordinance deals with how many cars are allowed at a non-owner occupied home or on properties currently not occupied at all. It deals with where people can park, and what constitutes a front yard versus a side or back yard. The ordinance even has a little drawing so that there’s no mistaking what part of a yard the city is referring to. (See the draft of the ordinance along with the minutes of the April meeting by clicking here. The ordinance can be read starting on page 24.)

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Basically, a tenant cannot park in a “buildable” area that runs from the front two corners of the home to the edge of the street’s right-of-way. In this area, parking can only exist in a defined driveway. The draft the council approved thus far says that as long as a parking area is obvious and is not within the main part of the front yard, it’s okay. You wouldn’t be able to park perpendicular to the street. Instead, all parking must be parallel to the street. This prevents what Councilman James referred to as a “haphazard look.” He said that it would make the neighborhood look more orderly and often, that disorder was what people were complaining about.

The changes address non-owner occupied homes. To be clear, as written the ordinance would not affect owner-occupied units and does not require any added expense, as long as it is clear to city staff where parking areas are provided. There are specific laws for what you can and cannot park on a lot you live on or that you own but is vacant.

In the case of rental or leased properties, the owner of a non-owner occupied (rental) unit would be responsible for ensuring adequate parking is provided for the number of tenants in the unit. This is not to exceed 4 unrelated persons in a four-bedroom home. Further, the owner would be required to inform tenants of parking requirements.

James said during an interview, “I would consider two dirt ruts beside your current drive a driveway or appropriate place to park. As long as people are parking there beside the driveway, that shouldn’t have to change. What we don’t want is for someone to drive into the yard, park beside their house, unload their groceries, and then leave the car there. Just get back in the car when you’re finished and park it in or alongside the current driveway if no spots are available in the current paved drive.”

If you’d like to put something on top of your two dirt ruts, that would be alright with the city. Just make sure you have the proper permits if any are necessary. The city has also provided a list of materials as a suggestion. Most of these are pervious materials that will allow rainwater to soak through and will not add to Cayce’s already difficult stormwater issues. That list includes plastic grid pavers, grass grid pavers, concrete grid pavers, grass, mulch, slag, gravel, crushed stone, pervious concrete, brick/concrete/stone pavers, concrete, and asphalt. In other words, if you do add to your drive, materials that allow water to drain through them are best.

In closing James said that, “This is the way that good government is supposed to be run. We heard the citizen’s complaints, we had the staff look at our options, then they drafted an ordinance. We discussed what they first brought to us and we asked for some changes. We looked at the City of Columbia’s ordinance on parking and one Irmo passed. We then shaped parts of those ordinances to fit Cayce’s needs.”

He went on to say that the city heard from citizens during the meeting where the first reading occurred. “In their comments, about half who were in attendance seemed to be for the changes and about half against. We are listening to these folk’s concerns and we may make some additional tweaks before we have the second reading occurs. That’s how government works. We don’t represent ourselves; we represent the people of our districts and they deserve to be heard.”

Again, it will take approval of the ordinance once more at the second reading, Presumably, this will be done during the May council meeting.

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