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Mechanic faces fine for parking at home

October 7, 2009 12:16:07 AM PDT
A homeowner is being told to stop parking his work truck in his driveway, or face stiff penalties.It's happening in Garden Grove, where the owner of that truck and police are speaking out about the city's enforcement of a parking code.

The owner of the truck quickly drives from his home for on call services, showing how important it is for him to have the truck at home.

The truck normally sits on the driveway of the owner's home next to Chapman Avenue, right across the street from a busy shopping mall.

For 12 years, the owner has parked his work truck in his own driveway and there has never been a problem until now.

Working as a mechanic, Bruce McDonald needs his truck nearby. He's on call 24 hours a day.

For 12 years, since he and his wife Donna have owned their home in Garden Grove, he's parked his vehicle in their driveway.

But now the city is warning them to move the truck or face a fine.

"That it's been 12 years, why now?" said Donna McDonald.

A city ordinance, on the books since the 1990's prohibits commercial vehicles, weighing over one ton with a wheel rim diameter of 17 inches or more, from parking in residential neighborhoods, including homeowner's driveways.

"It gets to be a quality of life issue," said Deputy Chief Kevin Raney, Garden Grove PD. "Some of the vehicles again, unless there's some form of regulation, could become just enormously large and so the city decided that, to the city standards, it was one ton was the defining factor."

City officials said they received a complaint about the truck.

Code enforcement officers sent a letter giving the couple 10 days to find a different parking spot or face a $70 fine, then $100 fine for violations after that.

"I don't know what we're going to do," said Bruce.

Bruce's business is located in Irvine more than 20 miles away. He says it's the only other safe spot to leave his truck.

"We only have one car and my husband's on call 24 hours so he would have to drive all the way to Irvine to pick up his truck," said Donna. "So he would need another vehicle. It'd be expensive."

The McDonald's also worry about others who have no choice but to park their work trucks at home.

They question whether it's all just a crackdown by the city to raise money during hard economic times.

"The city is certainly not trying to crack down on small businesses," said Chief Raney. "That's not what this is about. There is a law in place and we're trying to follow the spirit of the law and work with the property owner to try to find an agreeable type of solution to this."

The city plans to give the McDonald's 30 days instead of 10 days to find another parking spot besides their driveway.

The McDonald's say they plan to go to city council, to the meeting next week.

They say they plan to fight it.

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