Truck parking at residence

Visitor Question: My family and I have lived in a neighborhood with no HOA in Atlanta, Georgia for 3.5 years. My husband is a truck driver and has always parked his truck beside our garage.

Last week we received a visit from code enforcement wanting him to move his truck. We had an issue with them once when we first moved to the neighborhood because the truck was parked too far down the driveway. It could be seen from the road; therefore we moved it close to garage. We had no more problems until now.

On top of this, my neighbor drives a tow truck that is parked in his front yard, and there is another truck driver in our neighborhood that parks his truck in his yard, in front of his house, and sometimes right beside the road. He lives on the front street so you can't miss it. We live in a cul-de-sac so you have to turn down our road to see my husband's truck. There is no sense in paying $200 for truck parking when he can park in the yard.

Is this fair or is there something we can do?

Editors Reply: While it's a natural reaction to think this is not fair, this is not a helpful thought to entertain for very long. You are the ones facing the enforcement action right now.

The fact that you do not live in an area with an HOA is not relevant to your situation. Evidently there is a municipal code (law) that tells where a truck can be parked. This could be part of the zoning district regulations actually.

Do your very best to remain civil with the code enforcement office. Ask them to explain clearly what code you are violating, and where parking the truck on your lot would be permissible.

Sometimes, as you imply, it is a matter of visibility. In some towns, if it is out of sight, all is well. In other cases, the issue is more a perceived problem of truck traffic and wear and tear on the residential street, but it sounds like they are complaining about placement of the parking.

Occasionally the issue is blocking visibility for other people backing out of their driveways or otherwise navigating the cul-de-sac, but again if we are understanding the geography of your lot correctly, that is not what is happening here.

Based on our experience, we think your only good option is to talk this through with code enforcement. Do your best to stay calm in this conversation so you can take in helpful information. If they say this is a zoning violation, you might be directed over to the planning department to answer your questions. However, if is a simple matter of where on the property you could park the truck to comply with municipal codes, learn the detail of the rules and do your very best to comply with them.

After all, in most places code enforcement actions either begin with the inspector driving down the street (which is unlikely since you are on a cul-de-sac) or with a complaint from a neighbor. An unhappy neighbor often won't admit to filing the complaint, and also often can be very determined and persistent. So it is in your best interest to try to resolve this problem now.

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