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Lewisville Street Parking Problem

Miscellaneous
Posted by WhosPlayin on 2007/11/11 15:40:45 (1834 reads)

Regular readers may remember last month when I posted an opinion of a potential Lewisville city ordinance to outlaw garage conversions. I wanted to report back on that and let you know how it turned out.

Briefly, we won this one for freedom. (Lewisville Leader...) (Dallas Morning News...) Well, sort of. The good news is that the majority of the council believes the ordinance was just too intrusive on property rights. The bad news is that just about everyone in attendance at the City Council meeting this past Monday night, myself included, agrees that some areas of Lewisville have really congested streets due to too many cars being parked on the street.

Now, I don't think it is fair for someone like me to go before the council and shoot down an idea like that without at least trying to offer some ideas on other possible solutions to the problem. So, I spent some time during my lunch hour earlier this week doing some brainstorming on possible ideas. Download the MS Word document here.

My favorite ideas, briefly, are:
- Mail citizens in affected neighborhoods (perhaps with the water bill) and ask for voluntary compliance.
- Solicit citizen involvement in a “Congestion task force.”

There are lots of other ideas, but there really is no slam dunk.

I want to say publicly, that I'm impressed by the amount of thought and effort put into researching and ultimately rejecting the garage conversion ban. There definitely were good reasons on both sides, and it was a tough call.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I want to address a point made by Councilman Tierney. I'm paraphrasing here, but basically he said something along the lines of this: Since the city already has an ordinance requiring garages for new home construction, if we allow conversions - then there is a conflict. I disagree. Requiring garages on new construction means there is a very good chance that at least one car will be parked there. Almost nobody building their own house would not want to build a garage, but builders might try to get away with it on small lots. We need that ordinance, and it's not an unfair infringement on property rights. Further, once a garage is built into a house, even if it's converted into a room, it is still structurally a garage and could in theory be converted back. It would be much more difficult to retrofit a garage where a bedroom used to be.

Tierney also asked rhetorically about whether a citizen could build just anything they wanted - like a shack or a tent to hold junk - and if not, why isn't that a violation of property rights.

My answer to that is that living in a city is always going to be a trade-off between freedom and the safety and comfort of residents and their neighbors. The trick is where to draw that line. The interests of the public must outweigh the interests of the property owner in a clear and compelling way. We just didn't have that in this case.

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