As construction has boomed in recent years, many property owners have sought — legally, with a permit from the Department of Buildings, and illegally — to make curb cuts, which are, literally, cuts into the curb that create the entrance to a driveway.
The Politics of Curb Cuts and Driveways
Many of their neighbors...are unhappy, arguing that the cuts reduce the amount of on-street parking, effectively converting public sidewalk space into the entrance for private driveways. Then there is the aesthetic issue: a paved-over front-yard driveway may be convenient for its owner, they say, but it is not much to look at for everyone else.
The city’s Planning Commission, meanwhile, has proposed changes to city zoning, known as the Yards Text Amendment, which would require a certain percentage of front-yard space in certain zoning districts to have grass or other greenery planted on it, thereby preventing homeowners from paving their entire front yards. A planning department spokeswoman said the agency expects the City Council to approve the amendment on April 30.
Curb cut permits, though, are issued by a different agency –- the Buildings Department — and that agency interpreted the new zoning differently, ruling that a driveway is allowed in an eight-to-10-foot strip along the edge of the property known as a “side lot ribbon.”