Parking in San Francisco can be tricky, with the steep hills that the City by the Bay is known for, but Judy and Ed Craine were fortunate to have a driveway where they've parked their car for 36 years.
Then they received a $1,542 fine for parking on their own property, with a threat of a $250-per-day fee if they did not remove their car from the carpad, KGO-TV reports.
The couple told the ABC News affiliate that the San Francisco Planning Department is enforcing a decades-old section of code that prohibits motor vehicles from being parked on a carpad or setback in front of a house unless there is a garage or cover present.
"To all of a sudden be told you can't use something that we could use for years, it's startling," Ed Craine told the station. "Inexplicable."
"I wrote them back, saying I thought this was a mistake," Judy Craine said.
Planning Chief Dan Sider told KGO that the code was adopted decades ago for aesthetic reasons, and that there are no exceptions.
"I recognize that the property owner is frustrated," Sider told the outlet in an email. "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."
The Craines think the driveway has been used for parking since the house was built in 1910 and the planning department told them that the city would dismiss the fine if they could prove that it has historically been used for that purpose.
The couple submitted a photo of their daughter from 34 years ago, with their car in the driveway, but it wasn't deemed old enough by city officials.
Next, they found a blurry photo from 1938 online that shows a car or a horse-and-buggy pulling into the driveway of the home, but the planning department said it was not compelling evidence.
The planning department was notified of the Craines' use of their driveway after an anonymous complaint was made against them and two of their neighbors, who were also charged with the same violation.
Ultimately, the city closed its case against the Craines and waived the fines after they agreed to not use the carpad anymore, KGO reports.
If they want to continue parking there, the Craines can build a garage or a cover for the carpad, city officials said.
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