Development has parking problems built in 50 residents sign petition NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown

August 12, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

For Nathan and Dianne Fowler, the Cloverberry housing development in Taneytown is synonymous with bad planning and parking woes.

After six years of using the same parking space near their town house at 421 Clover Court, they were told the space belongs to their neighbor.

"This situation is terrible," Mr. Fowler said. "We are paying taxes on land we are not even able to use. It's ridiculous."

The Fowlers are among those who complain about the lack of parking in the 17-year-old community.

According to the plans for Clover Court filed with the county, Town Villa Corp., the builder, was required to provide 56 parking spaces for the 28 houses constructed in the U-shaped court. There are 60 spaces currently available in the court, Mr. Fowler said.

The plans also read that each residence is on an 18-by-120-foot plot of land. In most cases, the property encompasses an 18-foot-wide space on the street for parking.

But for the Fowlers and others like them whose houses face the side of another house, there is no paved street for them to claim as a parking space.

"According to my deed, I own part of that guy's yard," Mr. Fowler said, pointing to his neighbor's fenced front yard.

"We also own the land that the mailboxes sit on, but I'm told we can't tell them to move that off our property," Mrs. Fowler said.

Bill Peregoy, who lives with Anna Lookinbill next door to the Fowlers, said Ms. Lookinbill's property includes the living room of the house in front of it.

"The problem is the plans say we own 120 feet out [from the rear property line], but we can only actually use 90 feet of it," Mr. Peregoy said. "Some people get parking spaces, but by the same token, I own half my neighbor's house."

According to the city government, it is true that the parking spaces in front of the homes belong to the homeowner whose property abuts it. The remaining spaces are city property. Numerous cars with expired tags parked in "city" spaces reduce the amount of available parking.

Michael Hopson said he claimed the 18-foot-wide space in front of his home for parking, which deprived at least one resident of what that person had thought was a personal parking space. A domino effect caused the Fowlers' dilemma.

Mr. Hopson said he's paying taxes on the land, so he might as well use it.

"I understand where they are coming from, but they should understand my point, too," he said. "Basically what has happened is that these people have the same amount of property that I do, but part of their land is used as a right of way.

"When I bought my house, I checked to make sure what land I was going to get," said Mr. Hopson, who has lived on Clover Court for more than nine years. "Am I to give up my property because they bought property that is being used as a right of way?"

Mr. Fowler has attempted to solve his problem by getting support from his neighbors. Shortly after the parking space was taken from him, Mr. Fowler canvassed his and neighboring streets in the Cloverberry development.

About 50 residents from Red Tulip Court, Berry Court and Daisy Drive signed a petition for "anyone interested in getting the lack of parking spaces issue resolved."

Carole Cruise, who lives on Red Tulip Court, said her street used to have parking problems, but the tension was alleviated when the city paved over a grassy lot nearby for the residents' use.

"I think people are very territorial about what they perceive to be their property," Mrs. Cruise said. "Tempers will flare when there are a lot of people packed into a small area."

Mr. Fowler also approached the Taneytown City Council on Monday about the parking situation. He suggested that the grassy lot beside 417 Clover Court be converted into parking assigned to the residents who do not own spaces.

City Attorney Thomas F. Stansfield said the city may be able to put a lot there, but he was unsure whether the government could assign spaces.

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