Residents resort to gates to keep their parking spaces

Posted on Apr 10 2017 - 9:01pm by Lyndy Berryhill

Some Oxford residents are putting up gates to deter trespassers from leaving their cars parked illegally overnight.

At the Oxford Planning Commission meeting Monday night, condominium owner Brooks Yates requested an exemption from the city code to place a 6 feet tall, 22 feet wide electronic gate at the Oxford Manor Condominium entrance.

Oxford Manor, located off of Jefferson Avenue, has eight living units with 16 parking spaces, but Yates said the residents often have cars parked overnight in their spaces, sometimes for days at a time before being moved. Residents have also complained the people who park illegally leave behind trash.

“It is not just on ball-game weekends. … It is year-round,” Yates said.

Yates said he knows it is because the condominium complex is so close to the Square.

Residents said they also believe the gate will make their homes safer.

Yates said residents have seen people return to their vehicles as early as 3 a.m.

“There are some (residents) that are concerned over liability,” Yates said.

The section of city code the condominium residents requested be overridden discourages sliding gates in the city, but if the entrance had a longer driveway, the gate would be off the street with trees around it.

Board member Duncan Gray was skeptical of approving another electronic gate for a residence near the Square.

“I’m a little concerned because it is only eight units. … But what if a four-unit development wants a gate?” Gray asked. “The issue is something that we have to address as a city.”

Gray said instead of asking to be exempt from city code, he feels the threat of parking tickets would solve the problem.

“I understand the big picture. I understand that’s y’all’s job,” Yates said.

But Yates said because the residential parking spaces are hidden from street view, it makes it easier for illegal parkers to stay.

Board member Judy Riddell said she felt approving the gate would set a precedent for more residents to close off their private parking with gates.

“I don’t want a bunch of gates on the driveways,” Riddell said.

The Oxford Manor gate is at least the second residential gate approved by the commission.

“If granted, I don’t think it sets a precedent for everyone,” Yates said.

The board approved the exemption request 4-2, with Gray and Riddell voting against.