Op-Ed: Zoning Violations and Lame Rules

By Conrad Metzenberg

My local councilman has suggested I gather a few others who have been negatively affected by the below ordinances to meet with our city council.  Please reach out if you are interested.

A few things you’re not allowed to do in Santa Barbara.

1. Park in your own driveway for over 48 hours as per municipal codes 30.140.240 and 30.175.090.
2. Block your own garage as per 30.175.090.
3. Park your own rv, boat or project car in your own driveway as per 30.175.030

Let’s get this changed!  Whether you rent or own, your home should be yours to do with as you please so long as you’re not hurting anyone.  These laws are outdated and need to go!

If you have been negatively impacted by these rules and are willing to talk with the city council to change them, please email me at cmetzenberg@gmail.com

Op-Ed’s are written by community members, not representatives of edhat. The views and opinions expressed in Op-Ed articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of edhat. [Do you have an opinion on something local? Share it with us at info@edhat.com.]


Written by cmetzenberg

What do you think?


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    • I think the OP received a Notice of Violation hence the reason for the post. It is absurd that a property owner cannot park a car in their own driveway. I am curious, what if you go on vacation and aren’t driving your car? You can’t leave it in your driveway? What constitutes blocking your garage, parking in your driveway? And why can’t you block your own garage? I can understand not allowing parking in your front yard like on the lawn , but in your driveway? Nuts. You can stick an ADU in your front yard or driveway but not your car or RV. Living in the bizarro world.

    • I was cited by a City Zoning officer about three years ago for parking a vehicle in my driveway for more than 48 hours. I was given two weeks to comply and if I did it again within a future time frame, I would be charged with something even more serious. I feel it was retaliation for reporting more serious zoning violations at two parcels of one business in my neighborhood. By the way, those violations still continue to this day, even after the former City Attorney admitted the illegal zoning violations. That same City Attorney was the one who fabricated the no-street parking for oversize vehicles, unless you secured the required permit, of course.

    • ZENYATTA, The specific ordinances listed above don’t really say anything about not parking in your driveway or blocking your garage. UNLESS there are multiple units on the property, then there are rules about “stacking” cars (you can do it, but only if assigned to same unit). I read the ordinances.

    • This is why I’m curious to know the actual citation. As I mentioned, I read the specifically listed ordinances, and none of them say you cannot park in your driveway for more than 48 hours. (I park for 2 weeks when I vacation.) However, there ARE a couple of requirements for not blocking the garage – but they only apply if there are multiple units on site, to avoid blocking other units’ parking. (There are also specific parking requirements. You can’t turn your front yard into parking unless you don’t have a garage/ driveway, as is the case in my house.) I cannot park in my “driveway” because there’s a house behind mine, and it’s her ingress/egress.

  1. In general,
    I feel changes to most are reasonable. I’m no expert on reading code – but I didn’t see RV or boat mentioned in #3. But I could see how one persons ‘project car’ could turn into a front yard with six ‘projects’ under tatered blue tarps – so if modified I’d want some kind of limits.

  2. It would be good to read the ordinances before commenting. I don’t see anything in the second one cited about blocking garages or parking more than 72 hours in your own driveway. Most of the language pertains to multi-unit or commercially zoned properties. Maybe the OP cited the wrong ordinance? And the first ordinance sited doesn’t address driveways, but yards, porches, etc. So does the OP want to park an RV in his front yard? That’s a whole different thing….

  3. First one does not mention driveway: “No portion of any front yard or any setback, required open yard, or front porch shall be used for the storage or parking of motor vehicles, trailers, airplanes, boats, parts of any of the foregoing, appliances, loose rubbish or garbage, junk, tents, building materials, compost pile, or any similar item, for a period of 48 or more consecutive hours, except as provided below.”
    The second one: “1. Driveways, fire lanes, or other required vehicular maneuvering areas in any parking lot shall not be used for parking of vehicles or other storage that prohibits access.” Also, you can park your cars tandem in your driveway as long as the cars belong to the same unit.
    Yes, project cars need to be in an enclosed space: “M. Inoperable and Unregistered Vehicles. All vehicles incapable of movement under their own power or vehicles not currently registered for use on the street shall be stored in an entirely enclosed space. ”
    I don’t see anything about RVs

    • LETME – “48 or more [consecutive] hours.” I’ll guess there’s more that goes into this based on what I scanned above, but, go to the ‘ol “meter maid” chalk mark playbook that can truly be a pain. No telling how they start the 48 hours or know if the vehicle hasn’t been moved within the 48 hour time frame. But, move it if you can and then return it to wherever it was. At this point I’d say the 48 hour time frame starts all over again. What specific muni code section are you referring to?

  4. #2 and #3 need to remain zoning violations. If you block your driveway and GARAGE, which is generally behind your driveway, this means you will park your car, or cars, in the street. This typically causes a huge in many areas of town where there is too little parking. If you are peddling around on a bike and no one in your household has a car I would agree that perhaps thoese who have no vehicles could get an annual permit for blocking their driveway, but I bet this isn’t the case.

    • SBCOUNTYLOCAL – but it’s YOUR driveway. I can see not blocking the sidewalk portion of your driveway, but there is no way on earth you should prohibited from parking in your driveway on your property even if it blocks YOUR access to YOUR garage. HOA’s are a great choice for people who don’t mind giving up property rights. Funny thing is though, most the conservatives I know live in HOAs LOL!

  5. While I don’t disagree that those are codes, I am surprised that anyone is actually enforcing them. One my street, we have a neighbor who recently permitted and changed their garage to a legal ADU, so added cars to the driveway (no big deal), and on the street (still not really an issue). However, since June, their grandma has been “visiting” in her RV, parked on the city street and sleeping in it. No one is helping us enforce that issue. As one who works in the real estate field, I do know that your garage is suppose to be clear enough to park the number of cars it was built for, you can’t park over the sidewalk, and you can’t park on any unpaved area of your yard. Some of the codes do help keep your neighborhood looking nice and not rundown.

  6. How fortunate you are to have codes that are being enforced. I live in the unincorporated area. Over the years of no enforcement, our streets now look more like campgrounds with RVs, boats, trailers, etc. both in the streets and in driveways and front/side easements. These codes are on the books for a reason. County has a complaint driven policy which makes it very uncomfortable for neighbors to report. They say the complaints are confidential but most of us know names have been shared with the offenders.

  7. I agree that these ordinances need to go:
    1. Park in your own driveway for over 48 hours as per municipal codes 30.140.240 and 30.175.090.
    2. Block your own garage as per 30.175.090.
    But those of you who blame democrats for this and everything else under the sun are imbeciles. Newsom can certainly be faulted for a lot of things, but not this. Liberals in general have nothing to do with these ordinances.
    Laws like the aforementioned are antiquated, especially with the parking situation in SB.

  8. Soon the largest vehicle storage yard at 469 South Kellogg Way will be vacated of around 200 stored oversized vehicles, boats, RV’s, work trucks, and the like to construct low-income housing mandated by the State. Where will these vehicles go? There is no other storage available in the area short of Santa Paula or Santa Maria. Construction of dense low-income housing will only worsen the vehicle storage situation, as they will have limited parking and none of it for boats, RV’s, work trucks, trailers. Think ahead, Santa Barbara!

  9. This thread is a fascinating summary of our culture. People have opinions on how the world should be, and want other people to be/act just like them. Other people (or the same people at other times) want to do what they want and don’t like things that infringe on their freedom. Many (all?) of our laws are created by our representatives in response to input from the first group, to control the second group.
    I think we often go too far in trying to force our neighbors to be like us. Live and let live.

    • DavidB, your problem here, as is true of so many of your ilk, is that you think in extremes, it’s either or, black or white, libs or cons, red or blue, Communist or Democratic.
      You really don’t want your neighbor to do whatever the hell they want. It’s a compromise bud. And sometimes, when you have an asshole neighbor who is throwing parties for money until four am you really do want the cops to come and shut it down so you don’t have to. Or, if they are running an illegal body shop. Or selling drugs. Don’t pretend like you really want absolute freedom living next door, because you don’t.

  10. ConservativeSB. What you mean is “totalitarian State”. The USA is a Democracy not a totalitarian government. Russia and China are Communist totalitarian governments. Nazi Germany was a Fascist totalitarian government. Both were led by dictators. Donald J. Trump was and is trying to make the US a totalitarian country. He wants to be Dictator. He tried to overthrow a fair democratic election where the will of the people prevailed. He lost. If he becomes president again due to the ignorance of the American people, the US will become a totalitarian country run by Dictator Donald J. Trump. All he then needs is loyalists to head every department and community in the US. He will decide if you may or may not park your car or boat in you driveway or even if you may own your own home. Now, a rule that is meant to benefit the whole can be changed through the public democratic process. Under a dictatorship it can not be done that way. The dictator decides not you.

  11. the sidewalk is not yours, your driveway crosses said sidewalk and cannot be blocked. if your driveway is NOT large enough to accommodate a vehicle in length that crosses the sidewalk. you will be cited. if your vehicle fits in your driveway and NOT blocking the sidewalk. you are OK. no where in the rules of OWNING are you allowed to block other peoples use of sidewalks or paths.

  12. Yawn. Let me take a stab at this.. Sounds like the OP parks his boat or trailer blocking his own garage and because he doesn’t use his garage now created some parking in his front yard for his extra cars, and is now battling some enforcement issue invoked not by bitter neighbors, but by his own planned remodel to the property that involves the City people. In my experience the government people aren’t making arbitrary rules to enforce; they are demanded of them from the public they serve.

  13. (This took place within the City of Santa Barbara.) Back in 2019 my neighbors two doors down from my place decided, after 25 years of living there, to sell their place. These were neighbors I had thought were friends. Over the years, I had done them many favors and we certainly seemed to be on friendly terms. They did not advertise their home was for sale. My first clue was when I received notice from Planning & Zoning that our parking was not in compliance. I was told that no-one was allowed to park a vehicle in our access driveway. (For those of you who don’t already know, your “access driveway” is the part of your driveway that sits between the sidewalk and the street. This “access driveway” is City property.)———–When I met with the Planning & Zoning officer, I learned that not only was no-one allowed to park in my access driveway for any amount of time, even visitors — I was not allowed to park in front of my garage either. ON MY OWN PROPERTY. ———-This caused my family and I quite some bit of stress and heartache. Of our three vehicles, one of our cars occupied the garage. (Meaning our garage was not used as a storage area, but actually used for parking.) Now we were told that two of our vehicles had to be parked out on the street. I say it caused me and my family stress, but, of course, it ended up affecting our entire street. Up until the COMPLAINT lodged by my house-selling neighbors, everything had been working well. Everyone had “their spot” where they parked on our street. Now, all of a sudden, we were all playing musical cars. ———Additionally, my neighbors, the ones selling their home, also complained that we had a canopy over the top of our garage. (There is a deck above our garage.) And they weren’t satisfied with lodging one complaint. They complained TWICE. This canopy was by no means unsightly. It had been there for about five years. That had to go. Thus, we lost a nicely shaded family area. ———————- The house-selling neighbors quickly sold their home without ever putting up any For Sale sign and good riddance to them. IRONICALLY (and I’m pretty sure this is the correct use of the word), these same neighbors had parked their two of their three vehicles in their access driveway, up against their garage door, for the entire 25 years they lived in our neighborhood.

  14. Conrad – looks like you’re not getting a huge amount of traction here. I’d recommend being a good neighbor so your neighbors don’t call you in. From your tone on NextDoor, you seem ready to scrap with anyone not agreeing with you 100%. That’s not the best way to win over friends – or neighbors.

  15. It seems to me, Mr. Metzenburg, that someone who is on the SB City Transportation and Circulation Committee should have a better grasp of bureaucratic language and municipal codes. I imagine you have access to people who have more familiarity with it and can help you parse it. Good luck in your struggle with these codes.

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