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Junk cars in driveways

Original post made by Petra, South of Midtown, on Apr 14, 2008

Both of our neighbours have junk cars parked in their driveways, these cars have not been driven for years and they are dusty and rusty. I don't want to bring this up with our neighbours myself because I know it will strain the relatioship. Is there anything the city can do to cause them either get rid of this junk or park it out of sight in their garage. It is considered public nuisance, isn't it?
What is process of reporting it? Can it be done anonimously so that relationships with neighbours are not affected?
Also what is the law re poorly maintained front lawns with weeds?

Comments (20)

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Posted by try www.cityofpaloalto.org
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2008 at 11:00 am

From the code enforcement web site: Web Link

See Vehicle Abatement: Web Link

"Vehicles owned by the residents of a particular property may be repaired, restored or otherwise serviced in the driveway providing the vehicle is not out (visible) for more than 72 hours during any 96 hour period. Beyond that time limit, they must be in a garage or screened."

Looks like the 3 day rule applies to cars on the property as well as parked on the street.


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Posted by homeowner
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2008 at 12:32 pm

I feel sorry for you - this could happen anywhere. I think it lowers the desirability of the immediate neighborhood and you are justified in being concerned.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Living in paradise
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2008 at 1:41 pm

Yet another unintended, but foreseeable, cosnequence of Prop 13!


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2008 at 7:14 pm

WHAT in heaven's name does Prop 13 have to do with this? Please explain if you can or else refrain from making such ridiculous statements.


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Posted by Tania
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Kate,
People with junk cars and unkept front lawns do tend to be Prop 13 beneficiaries, but I agree with you - prop 13 by itself is not the cause of this... You can be on fixed income but still be tidy and considerate of community.


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Posted by Logical
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2008 at 11:14 pm

Tania,

Prop 13 beneficiaries? Maybe Yuppie loser is a more apt title for fools who would spend 1mil+ to buy into working class neighborhoods, then complain about the people who have lived there for decades.






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Posted by try www.cityofpaloalto.org
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2008 at 9:08 am

The bias exhibit here is astounding.

"People with junk cars and unkept front lawns do tend to be Prop 13 beneficiaries"

Where has this been researched? Can you provide a link?


"Maybe Yuppie loser is a more apt title for fools who would spend 1mil+ to buy into working class neighborhoods, then complain about the people who have lived there for decades."

There are residential codes that deal with the expected upkeep of properties. These codes have been in place long before the term "Yuppie" was coined.

Why do you think this is a working class neighborhood? Because there are cars on the driveway?


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Posted by Tania
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2008 at 9:40 am

"People with junk cars and unkept front lawns do tend to be Prop 13 beneficiaries - Where has this been researched?"
Personal observations plus pure logic - people who are not benefiting from Prop 13 are the ones who bought their houses at $1M + and hence have means and motivation to upkeep their properties and they generally do not own and store junk cars. It is logical to assume that people who store their junk in the driveways and do not take care of their front lawn simply do this not out of spite to neighbors, but because they can't afford it, hence they are Prop 13 beneficiaries. Makes sense?


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Posted by try www.cityofpaloalto.org
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 15, 2008 at 10:03 am

So, you look at a place and see a car in a driveway or unkempt lawns and you automatically assume they don't have any money?

Sorry, but I know too many people with too much money who have old trailers/RVs/boats/trucks cluttering up their multiple properties.

This has nothing to do with money. They just don't care what other people thing.


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Posted by Living in paradise
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Junkers in the driveways of multimillion dollar homes?

I think this anomaly should be incorporated into the new "Destination Palo Alto" campaign.

Who wouldn't want to visit here to see such sights?


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Posted by Logical
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2008 at 8:25 pm

try www.cityofpaloalto.org,

"Why do you think this is a working class neighborhood?"

Not all of PA, but a lot. Consider the Eichlers. Cheap post-war construction for the working class.... And some of us still still live in those Eichlers we bought in the 50's. Joe Eichler's vision for middle class communities has been co-opted by the greed and manipulation of Yuppies. I hope they are happy paying 1.5 mil for the same house that cost me 18K in 58. Hope those multi-millionaires are happy living in the domiciles built for us working class...

And hope they and their liberal philosophy are satisfied with the $4/gallon gas, bums on University Avenue, decaying City infrastructure, Children's Theater witch hunt, 9/11 attack.....

My generation rose to the attack on Perl Harbor, and defeated the axis powers enemies totally, nuclearly, and in no uncertain terms to the rest of the world what an attack on us would yield.

My generation gave the Yuppie generation the best last chance for world peace, social justice and a global quality living standard.... And Yuppies Liberals squandered that in greed....

Think about that next time you see my old American car on my driveway, on my fixed pension Prop 13 income, living in my post-war Eichler.





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Posted by Eichler dweller
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Logical

Don't ask for too much sympathy, many of us are still working class and scrimping to live in our million dollar eichlers. And, we are still living with 50s kitchens and bathrooms because we can't afford to remodel.


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Posted by Logical
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 15, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Eichler Dweller,

Be thankful you still have a 50's kitchen and bathroom. I have friends who remodeled in the 90's. The government flow restricted kitchen faucet is useless for washing dishes, or any other function a kitchen sink was designed for. Not to mention that the very, very expensive faucet started leaking 5 years after installation, and required replacement.

The "low volume" toilet doesn't produce enough volume and pressure to make the "flush" get to the sewer pipe, and they have the roto-rooter bills to prove it.

As for sympathy, I'm not looking for any. For those who are, I suggest looking in the dictionary between sh*t and syphilis. You'll find it there.




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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2008 at 11:03 pm

EVERYONE who buys a house has a Prop 13 house!! i presume you mean pre-Prop 13 house. So you are implying that the older generation in Palo Alto does not keep up their homes? What an insult to what Tom Brokaw called the "Greatest Generation". All of our male friends fought in WWII, the Korean War, and some in Vietnam. Every home is very nicd, lovingly maintained with nice yards. This kind of attitude in Palo Alto is NOT senior friendly, and it is 'sick'.


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Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 15, 2008 at 11:44 pm

The problem is that you people in your old houses are bitter. You are clinging your old cars, to your guns, your religion, or to antipathy to people who aren't like you.

Don't be bitter.


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Posted by Grandma
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2008 at 7:28 am

Logical: It's pretty easy to remove a flow restricter from your kitchen faucet, just unscrew the parts and remove it. It's only a little metal disc with holes in it. I'm not an engineer, just a regular Grandma and it took me less than 2 minutes. Just flush your toilet twice, it'll work fine.


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Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 16, 2008 at 10:30 am

I guess I'll chime in here. We moved to Palo Alto in 1956 when I was a year old. My dad was an accountant for Lockheed Missile and Space and my mom, like most moms at that time, didn't work until we were in junior high.

Palo Alto was not noted for millionaires then. And, in fact, I'd hear my mom and dad arguing about money, like, why my mom spent $15 at the grocery store. My two other siblings and I got 1 pair of shoes per year purchased at the shoe store that used to be in the Midtown shopping center. Our clothes were purchased from Maximart (where Fry's is) a week before school started in September, once a year. Despite this, we felt very satisfied and had everything we needed – even some extras from time to time.

When I graduated high school in 1974, I got a studio apartment in Palo Alto for $250 per month. You could still buy homes in Palo Alto for 65K, however, many of my peers eventually bought homes in Newark, Fremont and San Jose for much less.

Since then, I have always rented in Palo Alto and still do. I always say that I refuse to be "priced out" of the city I grew up in. I have had to skimp and admittingly I have usually owned a clunker of a car. I've noted an attitude change in Palo Alto. One time, an anonymous neighbor put a sign (a city sign that had been previously posted in our neighborhood when they were doing street work months earlier) on my windshield. They edited the sign to read "No parking here between the hours of – ANYTIME!" I guess they felt that my car and I somehow contaminated the culture of the neighborhood. They had a little chuckle when they saw me go out to my car and read the sign. I am not at all bitter with that; just maybe a little disappointed that the young couple lacked sensitivity of others.

I recall reading a letter to the editor a couple years ago from one of my former classmates who also is a longtime city worker. He too had lived his whole life in Palo Alto, gone to elementary, junior high and high school here. Essentially, he wrote to say goodbye to Palo Alto. His family was unable to afford to live here anymore. It is a little sad that one can grow up here, attend PAUSD but then will have to live elsewhere because it's unaffordable.

But, dang, I've strayed a little from the subject of clunkers in the neighborhood. I guess my point is that one can grow up here, playing in the empty fields and orchards, catch pollywogs and frogs in the creeks, go to school, play in the supervised recreation programs during the summer at all the elementary schools - just really feeling connected to their city, their homes, but then realizing that they have to move away because they are not able to afford it.

So . . . the moral here is, while I have a crappy car, I'm still able to live in the city I grew up in and am happy with that.

Andy


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2008 at 10:41 am

Andy

I don't think anyone minds you or anyone else having a crappy clunker of a car that you drive regularly. What I and others are complaining about (this is my first post so I am not really in the complaining category) is that there are many houses around Palo Alto where there are old cars that have not been moved for years. They do not work, they are valueless and they are eyesores. I have an example from my own neighborhood.

Across the street from me is a home which has just remained neat and tidy but in the same state as when it was first lived in. It was a family home, but the old gentleman has recently been put into senior housing by his family. The house is now empty apart from a few weekends when the grown up children come here to visit and stay in the house. On the driveway and front yard there are 1 old truck, 1 trailer, both with flat tires and out of date licence plates, plus 1 old pickup truck which was being driven regularly until quite recently. There was also a very old car which has been moved in the past couple of weeks.

It is homes like this that are too plentiful in Palo Alto. These old vehicles are worthless and cannot be moved under their own steam. They need to be towed away. Whether there is legal ownership by the present owners of the property is one thing, but if the original registered owners have either died or have alzheimers or something, there seems to be no legal way of getting rid of these things by charities that want old cars.

It is these sorts of vehicles that we want moved. Not old cars which happen to be the owners' mode of transport and are used as such.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2008 at 1:00 pm

One thing that has happened in my neighborhood is homeowners completely paving over their entire front yard and parking as many as six vehicles. In other words using the front yard as a parking strip. Since code requires that 40% of your land remain porous, they are creating a huge run off for our storm drains.


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Posted by litebug
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2008 at 11:43 pm

"Yet another unintended, but foreseeable, cosnequence of Prop 13!"

This has to be the most non-sensical, stupid, biased statement I've read in a long time! No more need be said about such jabberwocky.

My next door neighbors have had a dead car parked on the street in front of their house literally for years now. It has a thick layer of dust on it and my husband says that weeds are growing on/in it but I haven't looked that closely. It is the view we see out our living room window and it sucks. Meanwhile, their friends park in front of our house for hours on end. Be happy your neighbors at least have their dead cars off the street and on private property!


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