New parking bylaw stirs confusion and complaint

When Dennis DeSouza learned a fellow Scarborough resident was forced to remove a boat from the side yard of their home thanks to a new Toronto zoning bylaw, he says he got worried.

DeSouza owns two boats and stores both of them in his front yard.

Close to 700 appeals of the bylaw have been made to city hall since it went in to effect Oct. 1. Parking situations across the city have become hotly debated, says Bruce Hawkins of Toronto’s municipal licensing and standards department.

Among the contentious zoning regulations in the new bylaw are limits on cars per driveway.

“[Some] bylaws were created because some residents complained about driveways [and city streets] becoming congested,” said Adrienne Batra, spokesperson for Mayor Rob Ford.

For new homes, a maximum of two cars can be parked on a double-width driveway and one car on a single-width driveway.

But this zoning change doesn’t affect existing parking situations, so residents used to cramming cars on their driveways still can. But to do so, they must apply for a permit to widen their parking spaces or else face fines if in violation of the old bylaw.

There is a catch: some wards in Toronto don’t issue these permits anymore.

The new bylaw has left many scratching their heads over the details while others are completely unaware they’re in violation at all.

“I ride my bike everyday, so it’s a surprise I can’t park my bike where I have for the past three years,” said Joel Cormode, who learned he could now face a fine for storing his bike on his downtown condo’s balcony.

“While I don’t think anyone would make a complaint, if it’s my property I think I should be able to have a little freedom,” he said.