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San Francisco couple fined $1,500 and banned from parking their car on own property

Mayor London Breed on San Francisco's challenges
Mayor London Breed on San Francisco's challenges 06:11

A San Francisco couple who parked their car for decades on a paved section of their property in front of their home has been banned from doing so in the future — and also fined more than $1,500. 

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 been doing so 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 Planning Department told the couple they could potentially receive a waiver if they proved that the parking spot was historically located on their property. 

"We could be grandfathered in. If we show them a historical photo that showed a car ... or a horse-drawn buggy in the carport," Judy Craine told KGO-TV. 

The couple found a photo from 34 years ago that showed part of a car visible in the spot, but city officials told them the document wasn't old enough, KGO-TV reported. Next, the couple found a 1938 photo that appeared to show a car or a horse-and-buggy pulling into the parking spot, but the city said the image wasn't clear enough. 

San Francisco ended up waiving 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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