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Old 02-14-2019, 05:53 PM
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Neighbors refuse to park their vehicles at their own house, anything I can do?


Live in California and there's a house across the street from me that's occupants absolutely refuse to park in their driveway nor their garage. From what I can gather they converted their garage into a room and now treat their driveway as a garage with various tools and chairs under a tarp that's over the driveway. In addition they don't park their cars in front of their house at all for whatever reason and instead park in front of everyone else's houses. They own six cars and thus the neighbors to their sides, my house, and both my neighbors houses all have a car a piece always in front of our houses. If you park or have a visitor park in front of your own house, they will then proceed to park in front of your mailbox.

Is there anything I can do? I tried talking to the homeowner but he's some older guy who doesn't see what's wrong with parking in "public property" but the fact they block our mailboxes when someone parks in "their" space seems vengeful.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:01 PM
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A friend of mine had a similar issue with his neighbor. He just turned a sprinkler to face the car and after a few dousings the neighbor got the message and now parks in front of his own home. You can also just park your car in front of your house whenever you can.

The other thing you can do (less passive-aggressive) is to inquire with the city you live if a bunch of tools and junk under a tarp in the front driveway is permitted. Check with your code enforcement officer.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:12 PM
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Second the sprinkler "attack". They even make units that switch on automatically if they detect motion. Designed to keep animals out of your garden, but hey.

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Old 02-14-2019, 06:43 PM
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Check how the building code handles garage conversions. I’m gonna bet it requires approval.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:45 PM
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If their house is across the street from you, and they aren't parking in front of it, why don't you park in that spot?
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:46 PM
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It's not "your" parking space(s), it's a public street.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
It's not "your" parking space(s), it's a public street.
Why the rolleyes? You are correct that it is public property, but there is such a thing as courtesy when using street parking.

How many people live in that house such that they have six cars? Are they all regularly driven? I know most places have laws against storing cars on the street. You can only park for a limited time.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:22 PM
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Why the rolleyes? You are correct that it is public property, but there is such a thing as courtesy when using street parking.

How many people live in that house such that they have six cars? Are they all regularly driven? I know most places have laws against storing cars on the street. You can only park for a limited time.
Not only that, but storing stuff in your driveway, and not parking in front of your own house when space is available is a discourtesy to the neighbors. At least if they tried to park in their own driveway, and close to their house, it would be hard to criticize them. But as the OP describes, they are spread-out and imposing themselves on everyone else because they cannot/will not make space for their vehicles on their own property.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:58 PM
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My next door neighbor has a garage, a driveway, and room for two vehicles on the street in front of his house. Yet he parks in the street in front of my house.

I park in my garage, so I don't need the two spots in front of my house. Therefore it doesn't bother me, but I can't help but wonder what possible reason he has for doing this.

I'll never know, because I'd feel dopey even asking.


mmm
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:01 PM
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:33 PM
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Throw tacks and glass in the road in front of your house.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:36 PM
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How often do they move the six cars? Some places have regulations on how long a car can park without being moved.
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:41 PM
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You are correct that it is public property, but there is such a thing as courtesy when using street parking.
Not really, there isn't. We only have on street parking and you just have to catch as catch can. If there's a snow emergency and parking is only allowed on one side of the street then you get home early or you park a long way from home.

In the suburbs where I grew up everyone had a driveway but no one really carried where you parked. What courtesy do you think people owe each other on the street?
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Old 02-14-2019, 08:56 PM
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We had a similar situation in Toronto. In our area the neighbourhoods are old and we only have street parking. In summer people are relaxed about parking spots, but in the winter, you tend to shovel the spot in front of your house and there's an expectation you'll park there.

A few years ago, we had a major snowstorm and my neighbour & I cleared our spots, Immediately after, my neighbour drove out to get diapers etc for his newborn. Within 2 minutes of him leaving, another neighbour from down the street pulled into the newly shovelled spot. The guy never shovelled the spot in front of his house and worse, he took the subway to work, meaning he left his car there for days at a time.

Similar to your neighbours, his attitude way "Fuck you, this is all public space, I can park anywhere I want."

After two days (and another big snow dump) we got pissed off, so we boxed in his car with 3ft of snow on all sides and then we poured water all over the snow and turned it to solid ice.

We were very pleased with the job we did. Two other neighbours even came out and clapped as we did it.

That ended when he called the police the next day. My neighbour and I happened to be out shovelling again and the cop asked us if we knew what happened to the guys car. We told him the story, except we said we had no idea who'd done it. We said no one liked this guy, he was a dick who never shovelled and did this to everybody on the street (all true). Like an Agatha Christie novel - everyone is a suspect.

When the cop found out the guy never shovelled his own spot plus left his car sitting for days, all he said was "What an asshole." He then told us that we should spread the word that if this sort of thing happened again, "whoever" did it had to make sure the snow or ice they shovelled did not physically touch any part of the guy's car. Otherwise they could be charged if caught.

He then went back to the guy and chatted with him. Word got back to us that the cop told him he didn't know who did it, but that he thought the guy was in the wrong and he could expect it to happen again and again unless he started to shovel his own spot He also said that if the ice wasn't physically touching his car, not to waste the police time by calling them. It took him about 3 hours to literally pick-axe his car out but now he always shovels his own spot.

It sounds like you're in southern California, so unfortunately this may not be a viable solution for you, but I thought I'd share it anyway. Sometimes there are happy endings.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:00 PM
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I'm in SoCal. Sprinklers, especially if they're nice cars.

Yes it's a public street, but if you want your neighbors to treat you well, show some common courtesy. That doesn't apply in highly congested areas where lots of people have to park on the street--catch as catch can.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
We had a similar situation in Toronto. In our area the neighbourhoods are old and we only have street parking. In summer people are relaxed about parking spots, but in the winter, you tend to shovel the spot in front of your house and there's an expectation you'll park there.
It's a matter of no small debate (and lots of back-and-forth tactics like you describe) here in Chicago, as well, with the concept of "dibs" (i.e., "I shoveled out that spot, it's mine") being an informal, but generally respected, rule. People here are well-known for staking out their "dibs" by placing articles of furniture in their cleared spots.

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Old 02-14-2019, 11:48 PM
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Not really, there isn't. We only have on street parking and you just have to catch as catch can. If there's a snow emergency and parking is only allowed on one side of the street then you get home early or you park a long way from home.

In the suburbs where I grew up everyone had a driveway but no one really carried where you parked. What courtesy do you think people owe each other on the street?
Sure there is. Let's say that you and your wife each have a car and there are two spots in front of your house. Same for me. There is a tacit agreement that we each park in front of our house.

If I have guests over one night, it is pretty dickish of me to wait until you leave to run out for a loaf of bread and park in "your" spot. I get extra asshole points if when you return and politely ask to park there and I give the "Fuck you, it's public property" trope.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:52 PM
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In my neighborhood in San Jose they see nothing wrong parking partway across your driveway. I put cement blocks in the street next to the curb just after our driveway. Every now and then someone will move the block. But mostly we can now get in and out of our driveway no problem.
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Old 02-14-2019, 11:58 PM
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In my neighborhood in San Jose they see nothing wrong parking partway across your driveway. I put cement blocks in the street next to the curb just after our driveway. Every now and then someone will move the block. But mostly we can now get in and out of our driveway no problem.
That is grounds for keying a car.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:00 AM
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If their house is across the street from you, and they aren't parking in front of it, why don't you park in that spot?
Because just from the general attitude of speaking to the homeowner they'd probably mess with my car to force me to not park there.

As for the six car arrangement, apparently there homeowner has multiple grown children still living at the house. There's always two cars that seem to always be constantly parked but they'll "rotate" between the houses for whatever reason. The other four cars will leave semi-regularly and come back but at nights and mornings is when you have all six cars parked. The cars are more often parked then away though which is the problem, I don't think his kids have jobs since the cars are never gone for longer than a four hour stretch.
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:55 AM
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Parking in front of peoples' houses is one thing, but I thought there was a law about blocking mailboxes?

Other than that, have you tried the good old parking chair?
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Old 02-15-2019, 01:00 AM
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Second the idea of looking into rules governing garage conversions. Enough people to have six cars in the household seems a little excessive (barring the possibility that they’re all in one family, of course).

You mentioned having consulted with the property owner. Is the owner one of the occupants or an absentee landlord? And is this property within city limits, or is it unincorporated (who has jurisdiction)?
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Old 02-15-2019, 01:45 AM
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Because just from the general attitude of speaking to the homeowner they'd probably mess with my car to force me to not park there.

As for the six car arrangement, apparently there homeowner has multiple grown children still living at the house. There's always two cars that seem to always be constantly parked but they'll "rotate" between the houses for whatever reason. The other four cars will leave semi-regularly and come back but at nights and mornings is when you have all six cars parked. The cars are more often parked then away though which is the problem, I don't think his kids have jobs since the cars are never gone for longer than a four hour stretch.
Do you have a HOA? Ours would look quite askance at a driveway being used the way this putz's driveway is. Sometimes they can be good for something.
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Old 02-15-2019, 01:51 AM
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I found a reddit thread on this. Some towns have laws against blocking mailboxes. You can check if yours does. If not you can park in front of his mailbox.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:09 AM
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Doesn't sound like much you can do. My sister has a similar situation: a neighbor has three grown kids living at home, two of them with kids of their own, and one of the grandkids is a teen that is apparently a low-level drug dealer. They have six cars as well, and had seven. The seventh was non-running for over a year and finally a neighbor called it in as abandoned (parked more than 3 days in the same spot), so they finally got rid of that one (or it was impounded). Basically the homeowner has given up - trying to get the kids to move out, trying to get them to park courteously, and listening to complaints from neighbors. One neighbor parks his truck in front of his house, saving his driveway for his wife and guests. Most everyone else has just one vehicle and the kids parking in front of their house is a mild annoyance.

The only people actively bothered are in my sister's house. They have three cars and room for each, but the gripe is they don't like using both spots in front of her house; they want to park in front of someone else's house too and the other family takes all those spots.

Last edited by epbrown01; 02-15-2019 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 02:43 AM
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A friend of mine had a similar issue with his neighbor. He just turned a sprinkler to face the car and after a few dousings the neighbor got the message and now parks in front of his own home...
Nice -- you gave him a free car wash. Did he thank you?
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:52 AM
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Sure there is. Let's say that you and your wife each have a car and there are two spots in front of your house. Same for me. There is a tacit agreement that we each park in front of our house.
No, there isn't. At least not around here. I live in a triple decker, not enough room in front of any house to contain all the cars that might live there. You park where you need to park, everyone else does the same.
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:56 AM
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Nice -- you gave him a free car wash. Did he thank you?
A sprinkler isn't a car wash. Someone who cares about the cleanliness and appearance of the exterior of their vehicle will want to avoid sprinklers. They leave unsightly spots all over the car. If the person doesn't care... then they're not going to care. Unless, of course, if they happened to leave a window slightly open.
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:06 AM
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I recently had my first parking space issue with my neighbor. I've read about these kinds of problems before, where people shovel the snow and claim their "spot", but I never lived in a place where it applied to me. Until now. The frontage space on the street in front of my house can accommodate about four vehicles comfortably. My neighbor across the street has no frontage. Her fence goes right up to the road, and that's the lane that gets plowed. The other lane (on my side) stays full of snow. She doesn't park any vehicles on the street, but when people visit her, they park on the street. I think her children and nurse come by often during the day to visit.
We experience quite a bit of snowfall recently, so I had a nice spot all dug out for my car. It's obvious to everyone that this spot in front of my house is "mine" for my car. One day, I came home, and there was another car parked there. Someone who was visiting my neighbor. I was pissed. After a few minutes of complaining internally, I grabbed my snow shovel and dug out another spot for my neighbor's visitors. It was a big pain in the ass, since it had a few feet of snow piled up on the road there. I just focused my anger and frustration on the snow, and once it was all finished, I was over it and not pissed off anymore. Now my neighbor has a nice shoveled spot in front of her house for her guests to park.
Though, if I come home and both these spots are taken, I might just lose my shit.
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Old 02-15-2019, 06:14 AM
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That is grounds for keying a car.
No, not a good move ever. It CAN be towed, however. They CANNOT block a driveway.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:18 AM
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In my neighborhood in San Jose they see nothing wrong parking partway across your driveway. I put cement blocks in the street next to the curb just after our driveway. Every now and then someone will move the block. But mostly we can now get in and out of our driveway no problem.
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That is grounds for keying a car.
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No, not a good move ever. It CAN be towed, however. They CANNOT block a driveway.
Agreed: don't touch the car, but if it keeps you from getting in or out of your driveway, call the police. In my town, I'm pretty sure the police will tow a car that's blocking your driveway. (They might be nice, and try to get in touch with the owner and give them a couple minutes to move it. Or not).
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:32 AM
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It's obvious to everyone that this spot in front of my house is "mine" for my car.
General rule round here (not accepted by everyone) is that you have 48 hours of exclusive use to a shoveled out spot. After that it's fair game for everyone. But around here all spots will get shoveled out of necessity. That might not be the case around you.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:37 AM
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No, there isn't. At least not around here. I live in a triple decker, not enough room in front of any house to contain all the cars that might live there. You park where you need to park, everyone else does the same.
Would you believe there are different conventions in different types of neighborhoods?

My cousin lives in DC in a rowhouse, possibly similar to your situation, and yeah, street parking is street parking and there's absolutely no guarantee you'll get any specific "spot." No courtesy is expected.

I live in a suburb and everyone parks in front of their own house. If I parked in front of a neighbor's house I guarantee you it would raise eyebrows.

It may blow your mind to learn the existence of parking chairs.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:11 AM
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I've lived in the burbs where everyone had driveways, and people still parked on the street when needed. They typically parked in front of their own houses when needed, but not always an no one seemed to care.

I know all about parking chairs. Around here garbage cans seem more common. I'm ok with them for 48 hours. After that I generally toss then in a snowbank, usually several houses away.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:13 AM
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It's not "your" parking space(s), it's a public street.
The trouble with these threads is everyone thinks what they have in their own neighborhood applies everywhere.

Here's a typical So Cal street. Obviously no one has "their own" spot there. In fact, you're lucky if you can find any spot.

Now here is a random street in my neighborhood in Mesa, AZ. You park right in front of someone's house in this neighborhood, and you're either a jerk or an idiot. Because there's no reason you can't park in front of your own house. Even parking across the street but still in front of your house is rude.

Of course I shouldn't have to say this, but this being the SD, visitors aren't expected to follow this "code". They can park wherever. But why wouldn't a visitor park right in front of the house they are visiting? You wanna walk in AZ? What's wrong with you?

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Old 02-15-2019, 09:15 AM
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There have been several previous threads on this exact topic. Don't expect any better resolution this time around. Someone has already chimed in with the "it is not your spot, it is a public street" position. Expect other folk to question why you even care. Other folk will agree with the OP's preference that folk park closest to their own property.

I tend towards the latter camp. As I understand it, this is not a situation such as shoveling out spaces in Chicago, or grabbing whatever spot is available on a crowded street.

Maybe the neighbor doesn't realize they are doing something that annoys you. Maybe they don't care. Or maybe they intentionally want you to look at their car rather than they. Whatever their motivation, there is little you can do beyond politely asking. Check applicable ordinances. If they are illegally parking overnight, or blocking mailboxes, you might want to keep on the police - or the post office - to enforce the laws. But don't expect a spirited response.

This thread also touches on various other popular threads, such as parking over the sidewalk. People perceive parking very differently, and when you live in any city/suburban situation, you can run into someone whose views differ from yours. Good luck in figuring out how to deal with it.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:27 AM
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Check how the building code handles garage conversions. Iím gonna bet it requires approval.
I second this - if it comes to that. There's a lot of illegal conversion going on and having lived in California, I know that cities will waste no time cracking down on it.

Even so, that doesn't really solve the problem. There may be city ordinances about parking, but if not, there's really not much he can do except have a friendly talk with the neighbor and see if he might be willing to come to an understanding. I would take this approach first, before going to the municipal code enforcement.
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:39 AM
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General rule round here (not accepted by everyone) is that you have 48 hours of exclusive use to a shoveled out spot. After that it's fair game for everyone. But around here all spots will get shoveled out of necessity. That might not be the case around you.
Yea, that's part of the problem. There are no shoveled spots on this side of the road for at least a few hundred meters in either direction. I'm the only one parking permanently on the road. Any time there are other cars parked on the road in this area it's visitors. My neighbors would rather just let their visitors take my spot rather than shovel out a space themselves. Instead of raising a fuss, I decided to just solve the problem by shoveling out a new exclusive spot for their visitors. My neighbors are pretty old, and it probably isn't even reasonable to expect them to ask their visitors to shovel their own parking spot when mine is right there appearing to be open and available. I'm doing my best to accommodate them. These are the same neighbors who complained that my car is too loud and too pollutey (Charger Hellcat). They told me that it disturbs them from their sleep in the morning when I start it, and brought to my attention that it is illegal in Germany to let a car warm up before driving it. So... I now park my car on the far end of my property's frontage, as far as possible from their window. And I no longer let my car idle for more than 30 seconds before driving off. This was a big change from Alaska, where remote start is commonplace.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:05 AM
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Here's an old thread on the same topic, which seems to have petered out because there was no real answer to the problem.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:21 AM
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There may be city ordinances about parking, but if not, there's really not much he can do except have a friendly talk with the neighbor and see if he might be willing to come to an understanding. I would take this approach first, before going to the municipal code enforcement.
The problem with your suggestion is that if the OP "has a talk" with the guy and the guy says, "fuck off", then the guy will know that the OP was the one who turned him in to code enforcement.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:36 AM
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Move to the country.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:26 AM
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Not really, there isn't. We only have on street parking and you just have to catch as catch can. If there's a snow emergency and parking is only allowed on one side of the street then you get home early or you park a long way from home.

In the suburbs where I grew up everyone had a driveway but no one really carried where you parked. What courtesy do you think people owe each other on the street?
This is about particular suburban people's idea of 'courtesy' in suburban (US, I assume) culture. It's relative and subjective like any set of customs. Doesn't mean that customs are useless, but there is a tendency to say 'this is discourteous' as if it's some absolute which it's not.

Where I live, in a city but fairly low rise area so parking on the street is generally possible, you park where there's a space, as close to your house as you can. The idea that the space in front of my house is 'mine' would be ridiculous here. But again it just varies. I also bet there are places in the US which are closer to suburbs than my neighborhood where residents would think the OP's attitude is odd. Then there are places with so much room nobody cares at all where other people park. But then again I'm not surprised if some other suburbanites in the same range of density as OP also think there's a customary right to the space in front of your house.

Last edited by Corry El; 02-15-2019 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Corry El View Post
This is about particular suburban people's idea of 'courtesy' in suburban (US, I assume) culture. It's relative and subjective like any set of customs. Doesn't mean that customs are useless, but there is a tendency to say 'this is discourteous' as if it's some absolute which it's not.
I agree, I'm not intending to imply that there aren't customs that differ around the country based on locale and development type. But I've lived in an area that seems similar to what is described in the OP and there were no such customs. I'm trying to understand what they are in that locale.
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Old 02-15-2019, 01:44 PM
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Most of CA has a 72 hour rule for cars parked on the public street. This will be handled by code enforcement and is likely a low priority.

Converted garages in CA need to be permitted as well, which would be code enforcement. Slightly higher priority because permits generate revenue.

But even if the garage is open, there is nothing preventing anyone from parking on the public street. HOA rules may prohibit it, but it sounds like that's not in play here.

The city is able to control parking by making the whole street no parking if you could convince the local governing body to pass such a restriction - that's probably unlikely.

You could park there too.

That's about the only viable options I could see.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:06 PM
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Most of CA has a 72 hour rule for cars parked on the public street. This will be handled by code enforcement and is likely a low priority.

Converted garages in CA need to be permitted as well, which would be code enforcement. Slightly higher priority because permits generate revenue.

But even if the garage is open, there is nothing preventing anyone from parking on the public street. HOA rules may prohibit it, but it sounds like that's not in play here.

The city is able to control parking by making the whole street no parking if you could convince the local governing body to pass such a restriction - that's probably unlikely.

You could park there too.

That's about the only viable options I could see.
Depends on the city and how busy the police are for enforcement of the 72 hours. In West Hollywood (an independent city), which is about a fiercely competitive for parking as it gets, they're pretty aggressive. Some parts of the city of LA are rural, can't imagine LAPD puts much emphasis on the 72 hour rule in those areas.

Another option is permit parking, which applies in West Hollywood and parts of LA (and probably in other LA County cities). You can park for two hours during the day, and not at all after 7 unless you have either a resident permit or a visitor's hang tag. But in the OP's case, even if permit parking were instituted, the neighbor could just get permits for all the vehicles and it's back to status quo.
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Old 02-15-2019, 05:33 PM
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Except in winter we have street sweeping every week, alternating even/odd. The longest you can keep a car in a spot is 2 weeks without getting a ticket. In the winter, without street sweeping, there's no limit to how long you can keep a car on the street, unless you're parked on the wrong side (even/odd every other year) and we get a snow emergency is declared. They tow during a snow emergency.

A few years back we had a snow emergency pretty much the whole month of February. There were some cars that were on the safe side of the street that didn't move the whole month, and never got shoveled out. It was annoying, but not much you could do about it. A few people tried reserving their spaces for the whole month but their chairs and garbage cans were removed by annoyed residents who weren't willing to park .5 miles away. We ended up renting out someone's unused driveway.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:23 PM
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No, not a good move ever. It CAN be towed, however. They CANNOT block a driveway.
If you can get the PD to do anything. My neighbor is always calling the police because the driveway on the side of his house gets block often. The police come out and tell him to wait that the cop is sure that they will be leaving any minute.

by the way I live in San Jose.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:28 PM
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Move to the country.
Not always a solution. People use to park across the driveway of the ranch where I was raised. If necessary a tractor can encourage them to move.
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Old 02-15-2019, 08:52 PM
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Reason #456 why I live in the woods. I would go insane dealing with that kinda problem. My friend has a house in the suburbs she leases out and there's a big kerfuffle going on right now about a neighbor parking their car on the lawn between two houses. It's just crazy. There may be a lawsuit about it. The whole neighborhood is rental property. My friend is pulling her hair at over it. Her renters are the complaining party.
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Old 02-16-2019, 12:10 AM
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Portland has some serious vulture tow companies--you call Retriever Towing about a car blocking your driveway and they'll be there in minutes, tow the car and they'll charge a fuckton of money to the owner to get it back. They're mostly total assholes but sometimes an asshole is what you need to get shit done.
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