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To provide you with accurate information, could you please clarify these points so I can best address your inquiry:
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Unfortunately, all the law requires is that the blue handicap sign be properly in place. If the spot is properly marked as handicapped, then any vehicle parked in that spot must be presently displaying the placard designating the vehicle as handicapped.
I completely understand your perspective; that being that everyone knows the car belongs to you and that you are handicapped, as such, they should have left the car. There is no doubt that this would have been a perfectly normal and acceptable thing for them to have done. Unfortunately, the law does not require this of them. The law merely states that the car must then be displaying the handicapped placard.
My only thought would be to attempt to calmly and politely explain the situation to the property manager. With this in mind, they might be agreeable to some very short-term payment plan to get fully caught up on the rent. Absent that, while they have been less than kind to you, they are within their rights to have acted as they did. Sorry.
I regret that my answer is unfavorable, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than a truthful response.
Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.
Neither of these actions would meet the legal definition of discrimination. The legal definition of discrimination is to have an established practice which confers particular privileges on a class arbitrarily selected from a large number of persons, all of whom stand in the same relation to the privileges granted and between whom and those not favored no reasonable distinction can be found. This is not the case here.
In your situation, they are requiring you to waive certain rights for them to take a certain action. This is done all the time in any number of negotiated actions and is completely legal.
As I stated earlier, I find their actions less than appropriate and less than honorable, but that does not make them contrary to law.
How is it that you think a "stricter" county code helps you? If anything, a stricter code as to handicapped parking would seem to work to your detriment. Please explain.
Riverside County Municipal Code has no section 10.20.130. Section 10.20 deals with the regulation of speed and only goes to 10.20.040. Can you provide the correct section number?
10.20.130 - Spaces marked for handicapped parking.
The board of supervisors may, by resolution, designate parking spaces for the exclusive use of vehicles which display a distinguishing license plate or a placard issued pursuant to Sections 22511.55 and 22511.59 or 5007 of the California Vehicle Code. If the designated space is to be on a county highway, it shall be reviewed to determine if there is sufficient space for a disabled person to enter and exit the vehicle safely and if a viable path is available (including wheelchair ramps) from the designated parking space. Whenever a parking space is so designated, it shall be indicated by blue paint on the curb or edge of the paved portion of the street adjacent to the space, and may also be indicated by signs or other suitable means.
The board of supervisors may, by resolution, designate stalls or spaces in an off-street parking facility owned or operated by the county for the exclusive use of vehicles which display a distinguishing license plate or placard issued pursuant to Sections 22511.55 and 22511.59 or 5007 of the California Vehicle Code.
The owner or person in lawful possession of an off-street parking facility, after notifying the sheriff's department, and the county owning or operating an off-street parking facility, may cause the removal from a stall or space designated for physically handicapped persons in such facility to the nearest public garage, which regularly accepts towed vehicles, of any vehicle not displaying one of the distinguishing placards or license plates specified in this section if there is posted immediately adjacent to, and visible from such stall or space, or, if there is posted, in a conspicuous place at each entrance to the off-street parking facility, not less than seventeen (17) by twenty-two (22) inches in size with lettering not less than one inch in height, a sign which clearly and conspicuously states the following:
"Unauthorized vehicles not displaying distinguishing placards or license plates issued for physically handicapped persons will be towed away at owner's expense. Towed vehicles may be reclaimed at ____________ (address), or by telephoning ____________ (law enforcement phone)."
No person shall park or leave standing any vehicle in a stall or space designated for disabled persons and disabled veterans, unless the vehicle displays a distinguishing license plate or placard issued pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 5007 or Vehicle Code Section(s) 22511.55 or 22511.59.
All fines imposed for violations of subsection D of this section shall be in accordance with California Vehicle Code Section 42001.5. The provisions of this section may be administered and enforced by the director of building and safety and his or her designees, pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 22507.9.
You have not yet stated how the sign did not meet the requirements of the code. Additionally, in response to my earlier question about whether the spot was marked, you made no mention of any improper signage. So, unless you provide additional information, I am still assuming that the signage was appropriate.
I would also point out that, even if the signage is improper, this would still not amount to discrimination. At the worst, it indicates that the complex violated the law as to the towing of the vehicle potentially entitling you to seek reimbursement for the fees.
As to that, there is a compelling argument of ambiguity in the language of the ordinance. While the section you cited does call for signage, it does so only for an "off-street parking facility". In trying to determine if an apartment complex constitutes an "off-street parking complex", I tried to locate a definition for the phrase. Unfortunately, it does not appear that either the county ordinance or the state statute provides a definition. Meaning, we don't have clear direction as to whether the apartment complex needs to comply with this ordinance.
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