San Francisco property owners banned from parking car on it

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. paved / peɪvd / (adj.) – covered with a smooth and hard surface, usually using bricks, blocks of stone, concrete, etc.

    Cars can drive more smoothly along paved roads.

  2. aesthetics / ɛsˈθɛt ɪks / (n.) – the beautiful qualities or appearance of something

    A lot of people now use indoor plants for aesthetics.

  3. amass / əˈmæs / (v.) – to collect a large amount or quantity of something over a period of time

    My friend has amassed a huge profit from her clothing business.

  4. toss / tɔs / (v.) – to get rid of something because it’s no longer wanted or needed

    The school tossed a lot of its old policies with the introduction of online classes.

  5. compliance / kəmˈplaɪ əns / (n.) – the act of following a law, rule, or request

    The company expects everyone’s full compliance with the new office policies.


Read the text below.

A San Francisco couple that parked their car for decades on a paved part of their property in front of their home has been banned from doing so unless they want to risk steep fines.

KGO-TV reported 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 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 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 Craines tried to find a photo showing the space had been long used for parking. A blurry aerial shot from the 1930s wasn’t clear enough for planning officials and a 34-year-old photo the couple provided was deemed too recent.

The city ended up tossing 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.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Do you agree with the city officials’ decision to prohibit the Craines from parking in their front yard to follow rules on neighborhood aesthetics, even if it’s part of their property? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • What would you do if you were fined for something you didn’t know or believe was illegal? Discuss.


Discussion B

  • In your opinion, should cities implement rules on preserving neighborhood aesthetics or should people be allowed to decorate their homes the way they want? Why? Discuss.
  • What kind of rules on aesthetics would you want your neighborhood to pass (ex. no very bright paints, all houses should have plants)? Discuss.