Code enforcement on carport violations in Taylor are parked until certain rules are reviewed.
On July 16, the Taylor City Council discussed carports being placed in required 25-foot setbacks on properties, which is against the zoning ordnance. The council voted that the issue be moved to the city’s planning and zoning commission (P&Z) to review current ordinances and requirements of carports and compare with other municipalities.
The discussion came about after Councilmember Gerald Anderson heard from a citizen’s trouble with his carport.
“One of my constituents reached out to me that lives out in Crestview,” explained Anderson. “He was being instructed by code enforcement to tear down his carport.”
That instruction was sparked by a code enforcement complaint earlier this year on an unrelated nearby property. A resident’s carport was being enclosed and also located in the front setback of the property.
“It wasn’t going to be able to remain,” said Tom Yantis, assistant city manager. “When we told that property owner about it, we also noticed that there were other carports in the neighborhood that were in the same situation.”
To be fair to the rest of the neighborhood, the city notified owners of the other carports that they would have to be removed as well. Yantis noted that are similar situations throughout town.
“After I talked to Tom, he said there are four or five carports in (Crestview) that will probably be directed to be torn down,” said Anderson.
The current zoning ordinance was adopted in 2001, so the de facto restriction has been in place for at least 19 years.
“It was a concept in zoning that was intended to try to eliminate overcrowding and congestion on the lots in development to provide more air flow,” said Yantis. “It really came out of the old days in zoning when people were looking to try to provide more space around the structures.”
Yantis added that different cities set different requirements.
“There’s no magic number,” said the assistant city manager in regards to front setbacks being 25 feet. “It’s just a number.”
Mayor Brandt Rydell wanted to emphasize to citizens that carports are not forbidden in the city limits.
“Carports in of themselves are not disallowed,” added Yantis. “You can have one. It just has to be behind the front setback.”
Councilmember Mitch Drummond suggested grandfathering current carports in the 25-foot setbacks. Then, if a citizen wanted to set up a future carport in a front setback, they could ask the city for a variance.
Other council members were receptive to that idea. Anderson also acknowledged resistance to making it easier to erect carports, which could make property values go down.
“Some neighborhoods aren’t going to want carports, and I can understand that,” said Anderson. “The newer neighborhoods that have the longer driveways, the newer houses, I can understand them not wanting carports to start going up because you could just have somebody putting up carports just to put them up to not even necessarily use them to protect their vehicles.”
Yantis said there could be a more targeted approach to allow carports to be built in areas of Taylor more open to the structures than other areas.
“We can adopt a neighborhood zoning overlay,” said Yantis, “so if a particular neighborhood wanted to decide carports in that area were acceptable to them as a community, then we could adopt a zoning overlay specific to that neighborhood where that would be allowed and not in the rest of (Taylor).”
Mayor Pro Tem Dwayne Ariola wanted to wait and see what P&Z thought of the situation.
“I think it’s a cease and desist on any kind of tearing down,” said Ariola, “until we hear back from recommendations from planning and zoning.”