Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Good Riddance to Concrete Front Yards

About 10 years too late, the Montgomery County Council FINALLY considers limiting the amount of front yard footage people can pave over. Of course, all those that currently exist will be grandfathered in, but I think they should add a provision that should any of these homes sell they must convert back to the new paved-nonpaved ratio. Otherwise, my block (800 Philadelphia Ave aka Rt 410) has no hope of being any greener anytime this coming century. Already, many of my neighbors have chosen to expand to fully paved frontage. A few have even paved their entire side and back yards as well. I've posted a few pics here.

Somebody on a local neighborhood list serv when he saw a posting about the coming law told the rest of the list to "MYOB" and just where to get off. He was infuriated at the idea of it. Guessing he owns a paving company? Or maybe was just looking to vastly expand his driveway this summer?

The saddest part of this is we live in a very progressive community (aka Berkeley East) that is the heart of future Smart Growth development and walkable from two metro stations, on several bus lines, blocks from a Greyhound terminal, bike trails, and commuter train station. Yet, people still "need" off-street parking spaces for 3 or more vehicles per household. IMHO, that is just plain nuts! One car per adult is NOT a necessity.

At the very least, free up some of that solid concrete, blacktop, gravel, or interlocking pavers for a few narrow beds of turf or put out a couple large containers of annuals.


  1. Having that many cars in the front is a good sign that the number of unrelated adults in the house is over the city regulations.

    Was that the neighbor who booed the community garden idea, too? Maybe he had an unfortunate run-in with a ficus as a child. Plant hater.

  2. Don't think the guy who got hot and bothered about the paving issue has ever posted before -- so can't paint him in with the same anti-community garden NIMBY folks.

    I suspect, as you point out, many of those objecting are renting out rooms, back porchs, basements, attics, and garages -- resulting in an illegal # of occupants in many of our 'hoods small homes. The paving ordinance can be used as a back-door means to fight this.

    I sympathize to some extent on the tight housing situations and high costs here -- but it hits a wall with me when you start to effect your neighbors by causing drainage problems, lowering property values, etc. and over using limited local resources. That is the point the County Council needs to step in and regulate to maintain a balance and persective -- but they let it go for too many years and they are WAY behind on addressing these basic quality of life issues.

  3. Anonymous2:14 AM

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