Sandoval takes aim at illegal property paving

It’s already illegal for city residents to pave their front yards without permission, but one supervisor’s legislation is intended to give inspectors the teeth to enforce the ban.

District 11 Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval will introduce legislation next week that would empower Planning Department inspectors to hand out or mail citations for violations of zoning regulations.

The ordinance would help remedy a problem that’s plaguing Sandoval’s district, he told The Examiner on Wednesday.

Residents are pulling out gardens and lawns from their front yards and filling them with concrete. Doing so provides an extra parking spot, but Sandoval said it has far-reaching ill effects.

“We passed a law several years ago to make it illegal, but people continue to do it,” he said. “We are in danger of becoming a concrete city.”

He said once one person on a street paves over their lawn, neighbors tend to follow suit. The trend has caught on with entire blocks.

Paving over gardens not only takes away from the beauty of a neighborhood, he said, it means rainfall has nowhere to go except into The City’s storm drains, contributing to the risk of overflow and flooding.

“Together,all these factors send a message to young people that we don’t care about the environment or them,” Sandoval said.

If passed, the Planning Department would be given a power currently wielded by the Department of Building Inspection. Sandoval said building inspectors sometimes issue citations for planning violations, but with their own caseloads to handle, many infractions fall through the cracks.

If the ordinance passes, the Planning Department would be able to levy a fine of up to $500 in what is called a director’s hearing.

The legislation is set to be introduced Tuesday before the Board of Supervisors.

bbegin@examiner.com

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