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Woodhaven Residents Say New Driveways Are Eating Up Parking, Green Space

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There's a debate going on in Queens where people are illegally turning their front yards into cemented driveways.

As CBS2's Jessica Borg found out, it's making the parking problem in Woodhaven even worse.

Christina Barbour has lived on he block in Woodhaven for 56 years.

She said front yards on 88th Street, near Atlantic Ave used to look different.

"Most people had some, ya know, some sort of flowers and trees," she said.

Now, some of her neighbors don't have front yards.

"They cemented up to their house, so they can park their cars on it," she said.

Which has been illegal in the city since 2008, when the city stopped issuing permits for curb cuts and driveways in areas zoned for single family homes.

Officials said the main reason paving over your yard is banned is so residential areas have green space.

Residents said another reason for the zoning change is so there would be proper drainage after a rain fall -- preventing water from flowing from a driveway into the street.

"There is definitely a problem," Barbour said.

A problem because although some of the converted driveways aren't eliminating curbs, they are limiting parking.

As first reported in the Queens Chronicle, homeowners posted 'no parking' signs so people won't block their illegal driveways.

"They're taking parking away from people that live on the block," Pat Thomasian said

"It's frustrating, especially when you can't find a parking spot, you have to park 4, 5, blocks away," Steve Norbeck said.

After receiving 311 complaints, DOB inspectors issued violations to two homeowners on the street, fining them $800.

They have 90 days to get rid of the driveway, or be fined $2,000. Residents hope to see less pavement in their neighbor's yards and more plants.

The DOB said if property owners still don't remove the driveway after the $2,000 fine, the fine climbs to $4,000.



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