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QUANTITY IN QUESTION: This collection of Pontiac Fieros, stored at a home on East Taylor Street, drew particular attention during a Kokomo Common Council bus tour around the city. Changes could be coming that will limit the number of cars a Kokomo resident can store in their yards.

Changes could be coming that will limit the number of cars a Kokomo resident can store in their yards, Kokomo-Howard County Plan Commission Director Glen Boise said Thursday.

The new rule, which could be presented to the city planning board next month, would limit residential parking to paved driveways and limit the amount of a residential lot which could be paved, Boise said.

“We’ve got several car collector types who’ll buy old cars that are still running, put plates on them, and move them around, parked on a lot, and basically fill it with cars,” Boise said. “Right now, we don’t have the authority to control that.”

Boise said the new rule is also being drafted out of concerns that the lack of on-street parking along the newly widened West Sycamore Street corridor would tempt residents to park multiple vehicles in front yards.

The Kokomo Plan Commission discussed such a rule last year, Boise said, but numerous objections were raised to that proposal, and it was scrapped.

This time around, plan commission members are hoping a simpler rule would allow enough leeway so that families with large numbers of drivers (i.e. a family with four teenagers) could be accommodated, and that homeowners who take trucks and other commercial vehicles home from work wouldn’t be inconvenienced.

“We’ve got to be fair to the people, because we’re really more interested in controlling the extremes,” he said.

Boise and plan commission attorney Mark Hurt have been looking at several model ordinances in effect elsewhere to create the new rule, which would also need approval from the Kokomo Common Council.

In particular, an ordinance now being used in Munster, Ind., could be combined with a portion of a law from Garrett, Ind.

The Munster rule basically says residents can’t store cars on anything but a paved driveway (in residential areas), and that if they install a paved area in a back yard to store cars, they must put up a visual barrier.

The Garrett ordinance says no more than 15 percent of a large lot — and no more than 20 percent of a lot 5,000 square feet or smaller — can be paved as parking areas.

Plan commission member Mike Karickhoff, who also sits on the city council, said the idea for the zoning rule came during a council bus tour of some of the city’s worst housing areas.

One Kokomo resident’s collection of Pontiac Fieros, stored at a home near Sycamore School, drew particular attention.

If they’re licensed and operable, they can remain there, so you have cars basically parked bumper to bumper to bumper,” he said. “I think some sort of regulation is needed because you have some property owners taking advantage of their neighbors.”

Like Boise, Karickhoff said the intent of any new rule wouldn’t be to punish households “with four cars and four drivers.”

Boise said Kokomo Mayor Matt McKillip is also a proponent of the rule change.

If the plan commission, which next meets at 7 p.m. Dec. 12, decides the proposed rule is ready for public scrutiny, then a public hearing would be held, Boise said.

And if the plan commission recommends passage of the change, the city council would then address the new rule in a series of three readings.

A law already exists against individuals parking semi-trailers on their property, or using a vehicle to store property, Boise said.

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