Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From Moms on the Hill (MOTH)

From a MOTH post:

Hello, MOTH gardeners and driveway "owners" --- Neighbors and community members are reporting that they are receiving tickets for parking in their own driveway (which is not legally theirs, according to DC law) and for having treebox plantings over 18 inches (under an 1870 law governing public spaces).

One woman I know got tickets for each violation, the car in the driveway and a Yucca plant that exceed 18 inches. I have heard that new inspectors have been hired, and are being encouraged to ticket and tickets have indeed been issued. The curb cut that leads to the driveway and the driveway itself, if located in the front or side of the house, unless set far back like in some NW neighborhoods, is public space and parking in apparently not permitted there. So people who have been parking in what they believe to be their driveway for years are getting tickets from DDOT. Perhaps the city is trying to raise funds any way it can in these trying times.

As for the treebox, a tree is permitted, of course, but even a tulip that reaches a little 18 inches, or a sunflower, as I have have liked to plant, can result in a hefty fine. Some have complained to ANC and Wells' office, but be forewarned--the fines will keep coming, I understand.


About me said...

What were the tickets issued for? Let me guess. Blocking the sidewalk with an oversized SUV.

waaah said...

First of all, doesn't MOTH have a policy against re-posting items from that listserv?

Second, were cars common in 1870? The first successful gas powered car did not come about until 1893, so I think you've got your wires crossed.

The parking tickets you are talking about are a function of the motor vehicle regulations, and specifically section 2405.1 of Title 18 of the D.C. Municipal Regulations, which states:

"No person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle in any of the following places,
except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, in compliance with
law, or at the direction of a police officer or traffic control device ... (f) In any driveway, alley entrance, or other way when stopping, standing or parking would obstruct the flow of pedestrian or other lawful traffic upon any sidewalk."

In case you missed it the first time, the regulations repeat the rule at section 2405.3:

"No person shall park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, otherwise than temporarily for the purpose of and while actually engaged in loading or unloading of passengers or freight in any of the following places: (a) On the public parking between the sidewalk space and the building line,
except parking shall be permitted on public parking at those locations
designated under this title and at locations authorized by permit and upon
payment of rent."

[Public parking here refers to "parking" in the classical sense, as in "area of public space devoted to ... open space, greenery, parks ...", the way it is defined at section 102.8 of Title 24.]

These motor vehicle regulations are vintage 1997, and they are pretty consistent with what you find in many major cities, even suburban ones. In fact, suburban ones can be even more stringent—they often contain no exceptions.

While DDOT has authority to enforce public space regulations, DPW and MPD typically enforce the parking regulations. From what I've heard, MPD has been the one issuing the tickets that have the sidewalk blockers in a tizzy.

Either way, I just can't muster any sympathy for anyone who basically has a reserved parking space and presumes that it gives them right to block the sidewalk, too.

As for the yucca, Title 24 at section 109.11 states, "Planting material used to beautify a tree space shall have a shallow root system and shall not be allowed to grow to a height in excess of eighteen inches (18 in.). The growing of vegetables in a tree space shall be prohibited."

The dimensions of the little fence around the treebox are set by regulation, too (Title 24 section 109.9).

Title 24 is what governs public space, and was passed under authority of an 1887 law, with an 1870 predecessor. It authorized the District to give certain parts of the public streets over to beautification and greenery. It's not private property, and the District can take it back at any time.

It's tough to get used to D.C. agencies doing their jobs again (after so may years of Mayor Barry), but we'll pull through.

waah said...

The MOTH poster has his/her wires crossed, that is. Not Hill Rat.

Hill Rat said...

@About me

I'm not entirely sure, but even people who drive oversized SUVs know that you can't block the sidewalk when you park I would have to assume the outrage was over something else.

First of all, doesn't MOTH have a policy against re-posting items from that listserv?Meh. A MOTH member sent this to me thinking I might be interested in it and they were right. I guess if someone from MOTH gets their knickers in a twist over this I would consider taking it down, but I doubt it will come to that.

Anonymous said...

All the land in front of the facade of your house belongs to the District. It is public space. You cannot park in public space. Does not matter if you block the sidewalk a little or not at all, you still cannot park in public space.

tsantucci said...

How do you ticket a "tree box?" Does the nearest house get the blame even if there's no proof that those residents had anything to do with the plantings? And complaining to Well's office? There's no use to that -- you don't even get an automated reply when you email him let alone a response.

Anonymous said...

I just came home to find two tickets - from Thursday and Friday - for parking directly in front of my home. The violation is for parking "less than 5 feet from an alley or street." My neighbors and I have parked there - clearly not blocking the alley - for the 5 years I've lived in my 16th Street Heights home, so I'm more than a little ticked that they're so on top of tickets but took a year to remove the graffiti sprayed in that same alley!

Generic Viagra said...

Some laws are just stupid, if park in a side road where no one pas never, what's the problem ? or parking anywhere in a town of a 100 people... ?

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