Jonquil Park homeowner seeks residential vehicle restrictions

By Sarah Meyer: CNJ staff writer

One man’s vehicles are another man’s nuisance — at least according to Don Maggio, who is asking the city to pass an ordinance restricting the number, age and condition of vehicles parked in residential areas.

Maggio, who lives in the Jonquil Park area of Clovis, presented his concerns Wednesday to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. His presentation included a draft ordinance submitted in advance.

City Attorney Dave Richards introduced the discussion, saying Maggio had proposed the ordinance because of his neighbor, who maintains several old vehicles at his home.

Richards said the city has no control over the number of vehicles a person can have at a residence. The city can cite owners for vehicles that are inoperable, unregistered or uninsured, he said.

Richards said it would be difficult to draft a non-arbitrary ordinance that would address Maggio’s concerns.

“This appears to be an isolated issue between property owners, instead of a citywide issue,” Richards said.

In a lengthy prepared statement, Maggio said his proposed ordinance is “a starting point … to remedy a problem.”

He acknowledged “a small amount of truth” to the conflict with his neighbor, but stressed that the issue of numerous old cars in front of homes is citywide.

In District 1 alone, he said, he has seen boats left on the street for months, houses with five or more vehicles, unhitched trailers, recreational vehicles and “unsightly vehicles parked between homes on grass.”

“This is not designed to deprive a property owner of a project car or a reasonable number of cars,” Maggio said. “Nobody likes restrictions, but a growing number of citizens feel this issue needs to be addressed.”

Maggio’s neighbor, Paul Infante, disputed his claim that parking is a citywide issue.

“It is actually a vendetta,” he said. “I hate to say it.”

Infante said Maggio has complained about his vehicles ever since he moved next door in 1995, and has filed complaints with the city annually since then.

Infante admitted his vehicles are old, but said they all are “roadworthy.” And he said he has stored vehicles for members of the military when they are deployed — including his son.

“What is this country coming to if they can tell me how many vehicles I can own?” he said. “It’s like telling me I can only buy one loaf of bread.”

Infante objected to Maggio’s proposal that older vehicles would have to “be restored to near-new condition.”

“That sounds pretty — unless you’re a single mom trying to live,” he said.

Such an ordinance is “nothing but a wedge,” Infante said. “It’s saying the poor people live here and the good people live there. It’s like putting up a sign saying, ‘If you don’t have a new car, a pretty car, a nice car, you can’t live here.’”

Planning and Zoning commissioners agreed to have city staff review the proposal and see if a non-arbitrary ordinance can be developed. P&Z can recommend an ordinance to the City Commission for approval.

In other action commissioners approved:

• A preliminary plat for Jack Rabbit Run, a five-unit subdivision on 42 acres one-half mile east of Sugarbeet Road, south of Wilhite Road.

• A replat of a 6.45 acre lot at the northeast corner of the intersection of Wallace and Axtell streets, dividing the property into two lots. According to Richards, Sam Snell, the owner of the property, wanted the action for financing a development. Development plans are pending with the city.