“We just got cited Steve.” My wife had called me and sounded as confused as could be.
“Something about Code 2009… I can’t read this… hold on…”
“Honey? What the hell does that mean?”
It turns out that I had been cited for a truly heinous and despicable act. Parking my own car on my own driveway. Some misguided jackass (we’ll just call her Jacqueline) had decided to inform me that my car, the Barnacle Bitch, was now a flagrant violator of the county’s brand new law.
Here is what it stated:
Cobb county code. 2009-01643 Section (134-272 (5) b & c
Vehicles may not be parked in the grass or unimproved surface between the roadway and the home’s front setback. In the R-30, R-20, R-15, R-12, RD, RA-4, RA-5 zoned districts, parking allows only one vehicle, one boat, and one recreational vehicle (or any combination of such totaling three) in the rear or side yard on a hardened surface. In the R-40, R-80, RR zoned districts, any combination of boats and recreational vehicles exceeding three must be screened from public roadways via a buffer (approved by the Cobb County Landscape Architect) or fencing. No materials, equipment or business vehicles may be stored or parked on the premises, except for one business vehicle used exclusively by the resident. A business vehicle with a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight greater than 12,500 pounds are not allowed to be parked on residential property.
What it boiled down to was this. I could now park my car on the street, in a garage, or even at the rear or side of my yard on a ‘hardened surface’. But a driveway? A paved surface specifically designed for parking cars? No! Nein! Nyet! Not in this county, buster!
But wait… wasn’t this a ‘violation’ for two business vehicles? There had been only one there.
I called code enforcement. No response. Just an eternal hold followed by a voice mail. After three days of unreturned messages and interminal holds, I decided to get a bit more serious.
I drove to their office. It was an interesting experience to say the least. Two brand new ‘Code Enforcement’ cruisers were parked in front. Thick glass partitioned the ‘county resident’ from the ‘county official’ and surprisingly, no one was there. Or so it seemed.
I knocked on the glass. Not a sound. Not a peep. After about five minutes of waiting I opened the exit door and closed it. Not leaving. Just waiting for the obvious. Within five seconds two heads popped up.
I laughed. VERY Loud! So loud that the two hopeless drones couldn’t help but look in my direction. After a brief discussion of seniority, one rolled her eyes and went towards the front counter.
“Can I help you?’
“Yes, what does THIS mean?” I gave her the citation.
“I don’t know. Ms. Jacqueline is the one who issued it. You may want to call and leave a message.”
“I did that. You ignored it.”
“I did not ignore it!”
“Exactly who picks up those messages then?”
“Della Carver. She is in charge of this department.”
“Well, I guess I need to speak to her then.”
(another rolling of the eyes) “Hold on!”
I wait 5 minutes… 10 minutes… 15 minutes..
“Helllo!!! Wakee Wakee! THUD! THUD! THUD! I need to pick up a dead parrot before 6:00 P.M. today so would you KINDLY inform the queen of my presence!”
“OK. Then if you chose not to respond I have no choice but to sing!”
“Oh say can you see! By-y-yai-yai the dawns early light! What so PROOOUUUUD-leee…”
“Sir! She will be right with you!”
“Tell that to my dead parrot!”
A few minutes later… a new person comes to greet me.
“Hi. How can I help you.?”
“Hi there. I have just been cited for parking my own car on my own driveway.” I give her the citation.
“Oh. Hmmm… yes it is against the law to park more than one business vehicle at your property.”
But I only had one vehicle? It’s a Mercedes. It can’t be that bad! Didn’t we win the war?”
“The code clearly states that one business vehicle can be parked on my property. I had only one vehicle there.”
“You will need to talk to the judge about that?”
“You will get a letter in the mail stating the date of your hearing.”
“That’s insane! You’re actually criminalizing me for parking my own car on my own driveway?”
It didn’t get better from there. After dealing with a “Who’s on first?” styled debate for fifteen minutes about what the law meant, I was done.
Unfortunately ‘they’ weren’t. First on the agenda? Screwing around with the evidence of course!