The city took steps to bring law and order to a renegade Carroll Gardens block last month, dispensing a handful of tickets to scofflaws whom critics claim have turned the outlaw block into a veritable “trailer park” because they illegally park on their own front lawn.
Three homes were ticketed after the Department of Buildings’ inspection, a visit that followed a stunning report in this newspaper that many residents of Fourth Place between Smith and Court streets were violating city zoning, which forbids parking in the front yards along First, Second, Third and Fourth places.
Decades-old zoning designed to preserve the gardens that give the neighborhood its name designates such front yards as part of the street and not the homeowner’s lot, giving the city oversight about what is permissible there.
Two homes were summonsed for illegal front yard parking. The third home was found to have an illegal curb cut.
“Parking is not permitted in front of the building,” spokeswoman Carly Sullivan said, adding that a curb cut is legal only if the parking area is on the side or rear of the home in question.
Ticketed residents refused to speak to this paper. But one man piped in for his neighbor, who was slapped with a violation for using her front yard to park commercial vehicles.
“Leave her alone,” he barked. “How many times do I have to say it?”
Others were frustrated by the media attention the explosive story has received. “These driveways have been here for years,” a woman said. “This [coverage] is getting out of hand.”
Perhaps, but the media is not alone in shining a light on the problem.
Maria Pagano, president of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, has pushed the city to step in.
“It looks like a trailer park,” she said.
Indeed, some block residents agree that the gauche gardens are bad for the block.
“It takes away from the character of the neighborhood,” said Harriet Chichester. “But I can understand why people do it. The parking is getting tougher.”
As she spoke, Chichester gestured toward a seven-story residential building being constructed at Second Place and Smith Street, one of several multi-unit dwellings being constructed in the area.