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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118789
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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My husband and I live in Oklahoma City. We have lived in our

Customer Question

My husband and I live in Oklahoma City. We have lived in our home for almost 10 years. Our home is on a fairly busy street near downtown that sees a lot of foot traffic and there's a sidewalk that intersects our driveway.
For the first 7 years that we were here, we had no parking issues. I pulled into the single driveway and my husband parked in front of me, which partially blocked the sidewalk. We were given a warning for this and told that we needed to expand our driveway to fit both cars side-by-side. So, we paid to have a company dig out the entire area and fill it with gravel, as the city directed us to do.
It's been about 2 years now and we received a citation yesterday for doing exactly what the city told us to do to begin with. We're pretty frustrated because this fine is steep. I got on the internet and looked up the Oklahoma ordinances that cover what's expected of us and found a clause that discusses people with no access to the side or rear of their home being able to park on a gravel pad. Which, to me, seems like exactly what we have done.
Here's the conundrum: We can push our fence line back and made it to where all cars can fit on the gravel pad (one in front of the other). Of course, we don't want to do this because it means losing part of our backyard which is used by a business we run from our home.
When we contacted the city to hear what it was that we were supposed to do, we were told 1) we can fix it and pay the $100 fine or (2) we can go to court, plead our case and risk the judge fining us up to 4 times the original amount.
We're both pretty miffed because we've already followed what the city has told us and we're now in trouble again despite doing what was asked. To boot, it states right in the ordinance that those who don't have access to parking down the side of their home or behind it may park on a gravel pad.
I don't really want to pay the fine but, more than that, how in the world can we know that THIS TIME we're doing the right thing? What will stop them from citing us again stating that we STILL aren't doing things right? I don't mind paying some money to defend our situation but this waivering expectation thing sucks and needs to stop.
I can attach pictures and send a copy of the ordinances I've read through, as well.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Parking in a driveway and blocking a sidewalk is a violation as it creates a safety hazard. Now, this is why the OK law allows creation of the gravel pad. If you were not blocking the sidewalk and were on the pad properly, you need to go to court, plead not guilty and show them the ordinance and a picture of the location. The prosecutor will generally dismiss the case right then.

If they try to cite you again after you go to court on this one, now you can sue the city for harassment and seek an injunction against parking enforcement from citing you on that particular property.

You are in compliance with the law, you should NOT PAY THE FINE and go to court and plead not guilty and fight them.