Couple Gets $1.5K Ticket for Using Their Own Driveway

San Francisco couple had been using carpad for decades
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2022 5:42 PM CDT
Updated Jul 9, 2022 6:30 AM CDT
SF Couple Gets $1.5K Ticket for Parking in Their Driveway
The Craines say they parked in front of their home in the Noe Valley neighborhood for decades without being ticketed.   (AP Photo/Russel A. Daniels)

(Newser) – San Francisco couple Ed and Judy Craine say they were stunned to receive a ticket for parking in a spot they've been using for 36 years—the driveway in front of their home. They received a ticket for $1,542, along with a warning that they'd be fined another $250 per day if they kept parking there, KGO reports. "We got this email saying we can't park in the pad anymore. I said what, that's crazy," Ed Craine says. When the Craines contacted officials, they were told that a longstanding section of city code banned people from parking vehicles on uncovered carpads in front of their homes.

"To all of a sudden to be told you can't use something that we could use for years, it's startling. Inexplicable," Ed Craine says, though there was an explanation: Somebody had anonymously reported the Craines and two of their neighbors for violating the code. City planning chief Dan Sider said their frustration is understandable, but the code doesn't let the city "grandfather illegal uses on account of their having flown below the radar for a length of time." He says the rule was brought in decades ago to keep front yards from morphing into parking lots, though people are still allowed to park in front of garages.

That "grandfather" comment notwithstanding, the Craines were told the city might be able to make an exception if they could prove the spot had historically been used for parking. But a photo they supplied from 34 years ago was considered too recent, the AP reports. The couple searched historic photos and thought they had hit the jackpot with a 1938 aerial photo that appeared to show either a car or a horse and buggy pulling out of the driveway, but planning officials said "they were too fuzzy," Judy Craine says. For now, they're parking on the street, which can be a challenge in their hilly Noe Valley neighborhood. The city agreed to waive the fine after they stopped parking on the carpad, and the Craines have been told they can use the spot if they make it a covered carport. (Read more San Francisco stories.)

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