San Francisco property owners banned from parking car on it

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco couple that parked their car for decades on a paved part of their property in front of their home has been banned from doing so unless they want to risk steep fines.

KGO-TV reported Monday that city officials sent a letter to Judy and Ed Craine telling them they can’t park on the pavement on their property on a hilly street even though they have for 36 years. With the letter came a notice of a $1,542 fine and the threat of a $250-a-day fee for continued parking on their property.

“To all of a sudden to be told you can’t use something that we could use for years, it’s startling,” Ed Craine said.

Dan Sider, the city’s planning chief, said a decades-old city code to preserve neighborhood aesthetics prohibits residents from amassing cars in their yards. Officials looked into the issue at the Craines’ property after receiving an anonymous complaint.

“I recognize that the property owner is frustrated. I think I would feel the same way in their situation,” Sider said.

The Craines tried to find a photo showing the space had been long used for parking. A blurry aerial shot from the 1930s wasn’t clear enough for planning officials and a 34-year-old photo the couple provided was deemed too recent.

The city ended up tossing the fines after the couple agreed to stop parking on the pavement. If the Craines build a cover for the paved property or a garage, officials said they can resume parking on it — in compliance with city code.

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