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City officials try to model parking ordinances after other cities
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When Statesboro officials were asked to try to address the problem of people parking all over their front yards, they looked at other cities' ordinances and took from them the portions they thought best addressed the issue.
    Among the ordinances they looked at include Athens, Decatur, Clemson, S.C. and Chapel Hill, N.C.
    The controversial measure has drawn considerable fire from residents who say it goes to far in restricting property rights while supporters say it's necessary to protect property and resale values of homes as well as improving the aesthetics of neighborhoods.
    Lara Mathes, neighborhood planner for Athens-Clarke County, said their parking ordinance has worked well.
    "In some neighborhoods it's a problem and others it isn't," said Mathes. "A lot of times it depends on the proximity to the university. If you have student renters, you may have a lot of people and the wind up parking on the lawn."
    Like Statesboro's proposed ordinance, Athens-Clarke County's limits paving of the front yard to up to 25 percent and says cars can't be parked "on unimproved surfaces," Mathes said.
    Mathes said the ordinance has been in effect for several years and said that except for in a few instances, "it's not something that's a big deal."
    Hugh Saxon, deputy city manger for Decatur, said their ordinance prohibits parking in front of the building line, regardless of whether it is paved or not.
    "It works pretty well for us," he said. "The regulation has been in effect for 30 to 35 years."
    Decatur's ordinance is enforced by both its code enforcement officers and the police department has the jurisdiction to cite violators as well.
    The Statesboro City Council was expected to vote on the measure at their meeting Wednesday, but instead tabled the item to look into it further.
    Statesboro City Manager George Wood said the issues seems simple to deal with, but when it comes to writing an ordinance to address the issues it becomes much more difficult.
    "There are some areas where people don't have a hard surface, but if you look you can logically see where a driveway should be," Wood said.
    Another problem in trying to write the ordinance, Wood said, is the fact that there are many roads in Statesboro that have open ditches and you don't want people parking along the streets in those cases, but they still need somewhere to park.
    Among the primary reasons for
    Under the city's proposal, cars would be able to be parked on the side and in the rear of the house, just not on the front yard.
    Wood also said they are trying to balance the rights of property owners against the rights of those affected by having cars parked in front yards.
    "We do that be being as least restrictive as you have to be to accomplish that," Wood said.
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