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City bans front-yard parking for new homes, imposes limits in other cases

FRONT-YARD PARKING RULES SET IN CONCRETE: Richard emails that “since 2016 you have given us updates on proposed rules to stop front-yard parking in unimproved areas, but nothing recently. Have you given up? How about another update? And can you tell us who doesn’t want to stop this eyesore in Albuquerque?”

Front-yard parkers, for one.

Everyone else seems to have been trying to get the bureaucracy that is city government on the same page when it comes to stopping people from parking on their landscaping, or what would have been landscaping if people hadn’t parked on it.

And now, ta-da, they have.

Shanna Schultz, a planning policy analyst with the Albuquerque City Council, says the new “Integrated Development Ordinance (IDO) made several improvements to the language regarding front-yard parking that will make it more enforceable from the city’s perspective.”

NEW CONSTRUCTION: With development built after May 17, it says “parking in residential zone districts or for low-density residential development is prohibited on any portion of the front-yard setback other than on a driveway or drive aisle meeting the standards of this IDO” and sets out limits to what can be made into a driveway – which must be paved or done with crusher fine and can range from 400 square feet to 85 percent of the front yard.

CONSTRUCTION 2007 TO MAY 2018: As for homes built between 2007 and the IDO, “improved parking areas that met the rules in place at the time they were built can continue to be used for parking. Parking is limited to those improved areas.”

CONSTRUCTION BEFORE 2007: For homes built before 2007, “if an improved parking area… was developed, that is the only area that can be used for parking in the front yard. The size is not limited to the size limits in the IDO and can be continued to be used for parking.

“If no improved parking area was developed, the amount of the front yard that can be used for parking is limited to the sizes in the IDO, but that parking area is not required to be improved.”

There is also a variance procedure, which entails a public hearing and a meeting with the applicable homeowner’s association.

PROBLEMS AT U.S. 66 AND OLD MOUNTAIN: Vonsand emails “a request for your assistance with problems that exist at the intersection of old U.S. 66 at the intersection of Mountain Valley Road to the north and Highway 217 to the south. Several automobile accidents and numerous near-misses have and do occur at this intersection daily. Does a fatality have to occur before DOT will fix the problems?”

Vonsand says “drivers making the left turn onto Mt. Valley turn too short, and the vehicles southbound on Mt. Valley have to pull up in order to clear their view over a guardrail at that intersection. Drivers making a right turn from Mt. Valley onto westbound old U.S. 66 block the view of the driver on Mt. Valley attempting to make a left turn onto Old U.S. 66. In addition the traffic northbound on Highway 217 attempting to make a left turn onto U.S. 66 has difficulty getting across because of the heavy traffic in every direction.”

Kimberly Gallegos, from the New Mexico Department of Transportation, says “the DOT had a construction project that included geometric improvements that built left-turn lanes on N.M. 333 (Historic Route 66). It does not meet warrants for a signal. We will schedule a couple of field observations in the a.m. and p.m. peak hours.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103.

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