The San Francisco city planning commission has slammed a couple with a $1,500 fine for the horrible crime of parking their car in their own driveway.
The San Francisco couple in question, Ed and Judy Craine, have always parked their cars in their driveway for the almost 40 years they have lived there. However, they recently received a $1,542 warning from city officials that claimed that parking a car in their driveway was a direct violation of a code section that barred vehicles from parking in the setback in front of their residence, even if doing so does not impede the sidewalk in any way, reported ABC7 News. To go along with this insane fine, the officials claimed they would be adding additional penalties to the tune of $250 per day that the car was not moved out from their driveway that “as far they could tell” was specifically made as a place to park a car since 1910 when the house was built.
“To all of a sudden to be told you can’t use something that we could use for years,” Ed stated to ABC7. “It’s, it’s startling. Inexplicable.”
“It was very surprising, to say the least,” exclaimed Judy. “I wrote them back saying I thought this was a mistake.”
However, the city claimed otherwise and issued them a chance to prove that any of the past residents historically used that space. If they could, the city claimed they may issue a waiver.
“We could be grandfathered in if we show them a historical photo that showed a car or a horse-drawn buggy in the carport,” exclaimed Judy.
This sent the couple off on a mission to sift through all of their photos and search online for any available documentation.
The first image they submitted was 34 years old and showed their daughter standing in front of the house with the car visible in the back corner. They were told that the evidence was not old enough. The next attempt was a 1938 image showing their house and the street with a series of “black blobs” with one that seemed to be parked in their driveway.
Even this was shot down.
“I don’t know what else they would be,” stated Ed seeming exasperated. “To me, it’s pretty compelling that that was a car pulling in or out of the parking pad.”
“They said that they were too fuzzy,” stated Judy.
After handing over photos and disputing the warnings from the planning commission, officials eventually stated they would drop the warning without charging any of the penalties once the Craines moved their car somewhere else.
Dan Snider, the chief of the planning commission, stated to ABC7 via an email that the city put in place those laws well over a decade ago for mainly aesthetic reasons in order to ensure that front yards would not be made into parking lots.
“I recognize that the property owner is frustrated,” commented Snider. “I think I would feel the same way in their situation. But the Planning Code doesn’t allow for the City to grandfather illegal uses on account of their having flown below the radar for a length of time.”
Snider also stated that the city discovered the issue due to an anonymous complaint about the parking, and a pair of other neighbors were also issued the same warnings.