City Hall Watch: Supes approve fine for paving over front yard

Maybe it’s not paving over paradise to put up a parking lot, but it could cost property owners up to $500.

The City could start issuing citations to property owners who pave over their front yards or violate any other planning code.

The Board of Supervisors gave initial approval to a legislation introduced by District 11 Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, who proposed it as a way to address a problem in his district: residents getting rid of gardens and front lawns by paving them over with concrete.

The motivation is usually to gain an extra parking space, but Sandoval said the violation reduces the beauty of the neighborhood. Also, he said, when the rain has no place to go, it will flow into The City’s storm drains, putting the area at risk to flooding.

“This fine I hope will serve as a useful deterrent not only for cases of illegal front yard paving, but for the other many violations of the code that we see,” Sandoval said.

The law authorizes planning inspectors to hand out or mail citations if they discover a planning code violation.

A citation for a violation would carry a fine of $100 if it was not fixed after 30 days, and $500 if not fixed after 90 days.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick said that “giving the department some tools to do some of this enforcement is extremely important and hopefully [the Planning Department] will use it.”

IN OTHER ACTION

RAMP RULE SUGGESTED: Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin submitted legislation that would create a board rule making the currently unused upper dais in the board’s chambers “off limits to this and all future presidents,” which would eliminate the need forthe controversial $1 million wheelchair ramp project. Peskin said the lower platform on which he sits to conduct meetings can be made accessible “at minimal cost.”

LIGHTS OUT: Peskin also introduced legislation that would legally require commercial buildings in the downtown area to turn off their lights after business hours or face fines of up to $250 per violation.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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