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|72-hour street parking in same location: move it or you might lose it|
|San Diego Communities - PB/Mission Beach|
|Written by Debbie Hatch, writing for Beach and Bay Press|
|Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:01|
72-hour street parking in same location: move it or you might lose it
PACIFIC BEACH — Jake Kattai has a convenient life. The seven-year Pacific Beach resident lives four blocks from the ocean and walks three blocks to work. He can purchase most of what he needs inside the parameters of Pacific Beach, which means he rarely has the need to drive his car.
In fact, Kattai prefers to walk or ride his bicycle most places.
Although his father is a police officer in central California, Kattai, like many residents, discovered one law the hard way.
California Vehicle Code 22651k dictates that a vehicle cannot be parked in the same location on any city street for more than 72 hours — or it can be impounded.
If a vehicle is parked in the same location for more than 72 hours it is considered abandoned.
Therefore, every city, including San Diego, is subject to the enforcement of this law.
“We have areas in communities where there is just no parking,” said Det. Minnie Ramos, code compliance supervisor with the San Diego Police Department’s Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Unit.
In 2009, 10,165 vehicles were impounded in San Diego for violating the 72-hour law. From Jan. 1 through May 1 of this year, 2,960 vehicles had already been impounded.
Residents know that parking is tight in the beach communities, especially around holiday weekends. With families preparing for summer vacations, the law is something to keep in mind if one is planning to leave a vehicle parked on the street for longer than 72 hours at a time.
Kattai shares a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate and both have a car. The apartment offers one parking spot inside a single-car garage.
Last fall, Kattai walked from his door to the street thinking that he would get into his car and run errands. He could not find his car; it was not where he had parked it. His first thought was that his car had been stolen.
He called the San Diego Police Department, gave his license plate number and discovered his car had been impounded.
“I pay rent. I should at least have somewhere to park my car,” Kattai said.
He understands the need to have laws like this in place in business districts, but said he wishes there was leniency in residential areas.
By the time he was able to retrieve his vehicle from the impound lot, he was forced to pay $1,000, Kattai said.
When Kattai went on a recent trip to Peru, he employed his sister and his roommate to move his car every third day.
Having learned his lesson, he continues to move his car around every few days. However, after Kattai has told this story to friends and neighbors, he has only found two people who were even aware of the law.
“The code is black and white, but with the enforcement there’s discretion,” Ramos said.
Peace officers physically investigate when a complaint is made about an abandoned car.
Sometimes there is debris surrounding the car or spider webs that indicate the car has been sitting in the same place for a while, Ramos said.
The officers will chalk a line on the street and a line on the tire. Three days later, they will check to see if the car has been moved. At the time they investigate, they also leave a pink notice on the car’s windshield informing the driver of the law if it’s the first time a complaint has been issued about the vehicle.
“It’s pink for a reason. We want to get their attention,” Ramos said.
Owners of vehicles that receive warnings comply nine times out of 10, she said.
Kattai checked on his car so infrequently that the pink notice was still on his windshield when he retrieved it from the impound lot.
“Hopefully, the owner will be educated,” Ramos said.
Typically, if the car is moved prior to the officers’ return 72 hours later, there is no citation given.
“Don’t [let the 72-hour window expire], especially if you live in a very tight area like that,” Ramos said, advising beach-area residents.
There is no differentiation in the law between a recreational vehicle and a car, Ramos said.
For more information, visit www.sandiego.gov/police/.
This article originally appeared in Beach and Bay Press (a media partner of SDNR).
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