CAROLL GARDENS, N.Y. (CBS 2) – You’re probably familiar with the expression “not in my backyard.”
Well, in one Brooklyn neighborhood, residenst are shouting “not in your front yard.”
Carroll Gardens is an area known for its large, front gardens, but some homeowners have found another use for their front yard property – parking spots.
On Fourth Place between Smith and Court Streets, the gardens in several front yards compete with concrete driveways and parked cars.
“It’s ugly, it’s just ugly,” said resident mark Butler. “Aesthetically, it’s not pleasing at all.”
Butler lives on Fourth Place, one of the few streets in the area included in a city zoning law that classifies the front yards as part of the street, meaning they’re technically controlled by the city.
Only courtyards are supposedly allowed in front of the homes, so some residents, and the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association, said the law needs to be upheld.
“Obviously, people who have had houses and parking areas for a long time, their interests ought to be considered,” said Butler. “But on the other hand, I think it would be best for the neighborhood to revert back to what it was.”
Butler said the front yards should be more like his – all garden, no driveway.
CBS 2 reached out to the city’s Buildings Department. A spokeswoman said inspectors are investigating any possible violations.
Zoning laws change periodically, and while the current regulations bar parking in front yards, some driveways might be legal, depending on when they were built.
Residents weren’t happy to see CBS 2’s cameras in their neighborhood, with some threatening to call police – and most refusing to speak to Channel 2.
Some who live in the neighborhood said the driveways are not a problem.
“If they own the property, I think they have the right to park their car on their own property,” said resident Christine Bungay.
“I think it’s a part of city life,” said resident Kate Rankin. “You put things where they can fit.”
But those who fill their front yards with greens want their neighbors to fit their cars somewhere else.
Neighborhood groups said a crackdown is needed to set a precedent for future homeowners.