A California couple was shocked when they received a $1,500 fine for parking in their driveway. When Judy and Ed Craine received the ticket, which was issued by the San Francisco Planning Department, they thought it was a mistake.
"It was very surprising, to say the least," Judy told KGO. "I wrote them back saying I thought this was a mistake."
City officials replied and told the couple that it wasn't a mistake. Even though the couple has been parking in their driveway for over three decades, city code bans people from parking in a carport unless there is a garage or cover over the vehicle. The city was alerted to the violation by an anonymous person who filed a complaint against the Craines and two of their neighbors.
They were told that if they continued to park in their own driveway, they would be fined an additional $250 per day.
"To all of a sudden to be told you can't use something that we could use for years. It's, it's startling. Inexplicable," Ed told the news station.
The Craines were told that if they could provide historical photos showing a car or horse-drawn carriage parked in the spot, they could be grandfathered in and allowed to park in their driveway. But, despite showing two pictures, one from over 30 years ago and another from 1938, city officials said that the photos weren't good enough.
"They said that they were too fuzzy," Judy said.
Ultimately, the Planning Department agreed to drop the fine as long as the couple refrained from parking in front of their house.
"I recognize that the property owner is frustrated. 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," Planning Chief Dan Sider told the news station in an email.