By on December 23, 2013
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A Garden City, NY man was visited by law enforcement and threatened with a ticket as he prepared to wash his 1997 Volkswagen in his own driveway.

In the encounter, which was captured on video and posted to You Tube on November 27th, the officer can be seen walking up the driveway to what is obviously a private residence in what appears to be an upper middle class neighborhood and informing at least two men behind the camera that he is responding to a complaint from a neighbor. He states that he is there to warn the men that if they wash the car, they will be in violation of an ordinance which prohibits people from repairing or detailing autos in a public place. When questioned about the ordinance, the officer responds by showing them a Xerox copy of the rule and informing them that they are subject to the law because the area in which they are working is in public view. When the men insist that they are on private property, the officer informs them that if they wash the car in the driveway they will be ticketed.

The Truth About Cars enjoys a good legal discussion and I think there are several elements here that can be seen from different perspectives. In general, people who live in upper class communities don’t like it when their neighbors work on hoopties in their front yards and it makes sense that they would pass an ordinance to prohibit that sort of thing. This officer, who comes off as congenial and professional throughout the encounter, is charged with enforcing those rules and I think he does a good job of explaining the situation to two men who obviously disagree. Of course, thanks to the magic of the internet, you can watch the video and make your own call.

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143 Comments on “Garden City, NY Man Threatened By Police Over Washing Car In Own Driveway...”


  • avatar

    I live in NYC (where parking is nearly impossible) and LI. LI has ordinances which force you to leave your front yard fenceless and mandates similar: I can’t leave my cars on the street past X-hour on whatever day and can’t repair or detail, etc. We’re even subject to water rationing when there is drought and can get summons for washing a car.

    If he violated the ordinance then he’ll just have to deal with it – just like me.

    There are a ton of laws on the books that go unenforced. Most of these young cops don’t know them. I’ve recently been approached due to the tints on my Jeep and threatened with a ticket, but I get out of them because I have family on the NYPD and in the DA office.

    Most cops around here tend not to bother you for these minor ordinance violations. My guess – before reading the article – was that a neighbor probably complained about him. I’ve done that to these noobs on my block who don’t take care of their property. It’s a quality of life issue.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      So your advice seems to be to keep you head down and complain in private. Gee, you are so brave!

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      And this is why we avoided neighborhoods with homeowner’s associations when buying our house.

      I won’t pay extra to be able to hassle my neighbors, or to have them hassle me. If they have a problem, they can come talk to me in person (which is easy since our kids play together).

      It’s a quality if life issue for me, as well. It’s just that my idea of a quality life life (and quality neighbors) is way different than yours!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good points, HOA sounds like an excuse for local tyranny.

        • 0 avatar
          morbo

          I’ve owned in houses both in and out of a HOA. No one forces you to buy into a HOA. Plenty of houses without the rules for purchase.

          I agree that the rules are arbitrary and some of the neighbors can be lawn/noise/trash nat-zis. But that’s the point of living in a HOA. You pay extra to live in a neighborhood of comforting conformity, guaranteed quiet and cleanliness.

          As a side note, I no longer own in a HOA community.

        • 0 avatar
          56BelAire

          My experience is that most HOAs are populated by cronies, little clics of like minded know-it-all busy-bodies on an authority trip with too much time on their hands, usually overweight miserable women…… I know, one of them is my sister-in-law.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’m no fan of HOAs but I’ve lived in a couple of neighborhoods with them, and I’ve never been told I can’t wash my darn car.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Garden City is not a HOA. But it, like many higher income areas that are rather dense in terms of population, write a lot of local laws to address “quality of life issues. A car from CT with no plates and other cars in the past with mismatched license plates? Pretty clear this guy buys and sells cars and details them out of his home. He didn’t bat an eye about which neighbor, so it is safe to say he has had words with them before. The neighbor is probably sick and tired of the noise associated with the guy running a business from a residence. That is why these selectively enforced laws exist in these communities. The guy washing his Vette is left alone because he is washing is own car. The guy running the business gets targeted. Can’t even say the cop was a douche because he was not. He came prepared and was willing to walk away after making the law clear. The cops also let them know about the plates yet did not write tickets or tow the cars off the street, which unregistered cars are subject to around here.

          • 0 avatar

            Well said.

          • 0 avatar
            skor

            Most states will allow you to buy and sell a certain number of cars in a year’s time before they consider it a business, at which point you must obtain a dealership license. In the state of New York, an individual is allowed to buy and sell up to 6 cars in one calendar year without a dealership license. If the town was concerned about this guy running a biz out of his driveway they should have cited the correct statute, instead of the bogus BS they made up. If the town continues to harass this guy, they are headed for a law suit.

            BTW, this thread is heavy with Tea-Party derp about blue state “socialism”. Garden City, NY is a very wealthy area…median household income of $150K. The mayor of Garden City is a Romney Republican. Most of you Tea-Party Southron types would get arrested and charged with being White trash for driving your butch Tea-Party 4X4s through this town.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            > Garden City is not a HOA. But it, like many higher income areas that are rather dense in terms of population

            …as well as common sense..

          • 0 avatar
            GS 455

            If the guy is operating a business in his front yard he should be charged with that, not for washing his car. “The guy washing his Vette is left alone” What if a neighbor starts to dislike him and makes a complaint to the police? Will the law still be “selectively enforced”?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Skor-

            Tea party =/= Romney, he is considered heavy to the left.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          HOAs do not have the force of law. It is a contract among those who buy property to operate the neighborhood (like contracting trash service) and maintain everyone’s investment, i.e., not to devalue others’ property by doing stuff that would dissuade someone from buying there.

          I’ve served on HOAs. There are some control freaks, but they only have power if community lets them. Those that complain the most don’t get involved, don’t attend meetings, don’t vote, etc. far more often than not, our HOA deals with childish assholes (“They left their trash in front of our house, so we blocked their mailbox, so they drained their pool through our yard, …” to which our reply was “The HOA is not your babysitter. You are adults. F*cking act like it. “).

    • 0 avatar
      jz78817

      “I live in NYC”

      sorry to hear that.

  • avatar
    IndianaDriver

    I’m guessing that the area carwashes lobbied the politicians to have this law created.

  • avatar
    RayH

    Gas-powered pressure washer told me all I needed to know. Too many variables here, but I’m going to have to side with the complaining neighbor.

    • 0 avatar

      I saw that too, it’s probably better he doesn’t point that thing at the car…

      To the point at hand, being from the hills this sort of thing is inconceivable to me. I can understand some home owners associations prohibiting this sort of thing, but a city ordinance that would prohibit you from even washing your car is way over the top.

      That said, I don’t blame the cop. I think he did a great job working with these guys.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I don’t like the idea that everything coming off your car ends up in the storm sewer. In many places, storm sewers empty into lakes, rivers, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          This. Truth is, many car washes have recapturing technology that mitigates water use and pollutants, and are way more environmentally-friendly than you or I could ever hope to be with a water hose and a bottle of automotive soap.

          Now if those car washes could just work on *actually getting people’s cars clean*, I’d be alright…

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          So, sand and road salt effluent draining from a non-recycling commercial car wash is OK, but the same effluent draining from your driveway into the roadway drains is not. You’re not Dennis the Menace’s neighbor, are you?

          Just where do you think the debris washing off from your car goes when you drive in the rain?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Snakebit-

            I shouldn’t have said “I”. Its not of my concern if someone washes thier car in their driveway. I use a self serve carwash bay when I wash my cars, and I’m sure that all goes right into the storm sewers. I edited my original comment and messed up the context. My point was many communities don’t want people to wash their cars in their driveway because of that reason. San Jose, for example, is one of those cities.

            I am not Mr Wilson.

          • 0 avatar
            tooloud10

            I don’t get it either. The salt and sand that I wash off my car comes from the public roads. If it doesn’t stick to my car and instead stays on the road, the sand and salt drains into the sewer every time it rains.

            So the options are: wash my car in the driveway and let everything drain into the sewer, or let Mother Nature wash the same sand and salt into the sewer from the surface of the roadway on her own.

      • 0 avatar
        RayH

        Hazmat might be called out if he uses that pressure washer to prevent paint chips from going into the storm sewer… Anymore, that’s probably a likely scenario!
        Sometimes the “stupid” laws, such as not washing a car in the public view, protect property values and/or public decency. If you have problem people, you can harass them and ticket them until they modify their behavior. Unfortunately, this system to keep people in check is abused too often. It definitely can lead to petty squabbles between neighbors.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I had an issue with a neighbor that called the cops because someone was working on my house on a Sunday. I was in the wrong, but I have only lived in my neighborhood for two years and wasn’t aware of the ordinance.

          Roofers just needed to finish something up and had maybe two hours of work to do. I received a nice visit from the police. They were less concerned about me updating my home, and more concerned with the same neighbor’s Volvo 240 Diesel on blocks.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          It leads to problems like the one I had with my old neighbor. This fool actually went to a HOA meeting and accused me of 1) tunneling under her property to steal her long distance lines, and 2) cooking up a virus to give to her dogs. That’s right, bio-war.

          Unfortunately, the HOA did nothing to punish her for having wild parties that ended up with people passed out in the garage the next morning with the door open, dumping old tires, carpets and furniture on her front lawn, leaving her her totaled-out 4Runner (complete with leaky gas tank) in the driveway, or the four Rottweilers in her back yard that barked 24/7.

          God, I’m glad I don’t live there anymore. She does, unfortunately.

        • 0 avatar
          snakebit

          I don’t feel the folks in Beverly Hills or Brentwood, washing their McLarens and Lambos in their drives, worry that their property values will take a hit. The Kardashian wanna-be’s in Garden City, LI, if that was their motivation, ought to smarten up. You want your house to be worth more, wait for the economy to help you, don’t blame your neighbors washing their cars at home for the value of your home. Absolutely ridiculous. You really OK, Ray?

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        I’ve read some HOA rules that ban using power tools INSIDE your garage. Insane level of meddling. I don’t mind hearing my neighbors being productive with various DIY projects on the weekends. When disaster strikes, those neighbors have the well practiced skills to rebuild. In a recent major ice storm the DIY neighbors had the skills and chain saws to quickly convert fallen trees into firewood. The less self-sufficient neighborhoods had to wait on hired help.

    • 0 avatar
      Pinzgauer

      That’s an electric pressure washer. It barely makes any noise.

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      Agree- Pop and Lad out there with a bucket and hose are one thing… A gas powered pressure washer is a “tool of the trade.”

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      It’s starting to sound to me like the ordinance is just an attempt to keep people from running low-key professional detailing services from their homes. Someone doing that can technically say “Hey, I’m just washing a couple of friends’ cars, what’s the problem?”

      So the law inevitably make rules around anything that could correlate to that type of behavior. It’s ultimately zoning enforcement being carried out by questionable means. $0.02.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Here’s the ordinance:

    § 178-3 Cleaning or washing of rugs, furniture or vehicles.

    No person shall wash or cause to be washed, clean or cause to be cleaned, beat or cause to be beaten any rugs, curtains, furniture, tapestry, clothing or other like articles upon any sidewalk, public street, highway or public place within the village, and no person shall wash or cause to be washed any motor vehicle or like conveyance upon any public street, highway or public place.

    The cop got this one wrong. The house is private property, not a public place.

    It wouldn’t be legal to wash the car while parked in the street. But the driveway isn’t public, as the guy pointed out in the video.

    (Incidentally, this happened in Garden City, NY, not in New Jersey.)

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll fix that now, thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Thinkin...

      I believe that “public place” can be used in reference to private property. Think of a parking lot for instance: Be it of a restaurant, mall, store, whatever, it is in private property, but is a public place.

      Or, think of it this way: If you’re standing on your front lawn, naked, lip-syncing to Christmas tunes, you’re doing so very much in public.

      I’m pretty sure the cop got this one right, both in detail and execution. Many villages have similar ordinances. As others have said, such laws largely go uninforced unless someone isn’t playing nice with others.

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        Private property is not a public place. The sorts of businesses you speak of are regarded as private property to which the public is customarily admitted – which supports regulation of the public admittance and conduct.

        A personal residence is not such a place (allowing for the occasional manor house opened to public tours), so is not any sort of a public space.

    • 0 avatar
      RetroGrouch

      A store, mall, or other private property can be considered a place of public accommodation. A driveway at a privately owned house is NOT a place of public accommodation, even is some nosy neighbor can see it from his or her kitchen.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      You are correct. The cop has it wrong, and deliberately so. I live in Jersey and this kind of harassment is common from suburban cops who have nothing to do. It goes like this: A neighbor with “juice”….a friend or relative on the town council… doesn’t like his neighbor for whatever reason. Busybody neighbor then calls their buddy on the council, who calls the chief of badge-thugs, who sends out the biggest loser in the department to harass the object of the connected individual’s wrath.

      These guys can beat this, but they MUST HIRE A LAWYER. Walk into a municipal court in New York or New Jersey pro se and you are done. The lawyer will easily be able to beat this, but the defendants will not be able to recover their fee. It’s plain old harassment.

  • avatar
    Hillman

    Really well done by the cop in this video. He did not even get upset when he was taunted by the same people who he was trying to give a break to. Also, videos like this remind me why I will never live in a HOA. Too many busy buddies who want to play mini dictator in this world.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The oop was polite, but he is wrong on the law. A driveway on private property is not a “public place.”

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      I beg to differ. He is not giving a break to anybody, they haven’t done anything yet.

      If this was me, I’d take the cop’s badge number and name (they just love it when you do that), went to the City Hall or court or whoever and get a proper description of what they consider a public place by law. And if God forbid that cop was wrong about I’d come down on him personally like a ton of bricks. I would make sure that officer was as severely reprimanded as possible and I wouldn’t be afraid to consult a lawyer if need be. Cops should know the law, it’s their only real job. If they don’t they shouldn’t be cops.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    For fuck’s sake, the guy’s just washing his car. Is this really a problem?

    The nightmare scenario of a man taking soap and water to his vehicle, IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, scandalized some chickenshit little fascist so much that they complained to the town council, who no doubt decided that ONE COMPLAINT (I’m assuming here, but that’s usually how theses idiocies get rolling) was enough to indicate a problem bad enough to warrant a blanket ban on car washings.

    I want to live in this town. They must’ve solved all the real problems to have the time and energy to ban car washing.

    This whole notion of people being allowed to make anonymous complaints violates the principle that a man has a right to face his accuser, and that the accuser has to substantiate his complaint.

    If concern over property values makes a person into a petty, chickenshit little tattletale, then maybe that person shouldn’t own a home.

    • 0 avatar
      Halftruth

      I’m with OneAlpha. I would like to add that this CSLF had to have scoured the ordinances just to find something they could pin on their neighbor AND call the cops to tell them it existed (as I am sure the police had no clue about this ordinance prior). Neighbors can suuuuuck..
      Let me guess, the little fascist has no “real” income but needs “help” yet can find enough focus to bust this guy’s chops. Ok, I am assuming a bit there but sounds like the a$$hole neighbor has lots of time on his/her hands.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Neighbors who call the cops on other neighbors for petty things are just idiots. Most of the time they are just dumb old retirees who have nothing better to do than waste the police’s time and bother their neighbors.

    Anyone remember the old grouch who lived across from the elementary school and would call the police if a kickball rolled into his yard?

    • 0 avatar
      swaghole

      “Get off my lawn”

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      First, considering the stupid ordinance, and the presumption that this ordinance was maybe already interpreted to the police force by a superior officer, the officer was polite enough. He may have disapproved of it, and his bosses may also have disapproved, but the ordinance is the ordinance. There are also other towns that enforce ordinances like no visible trash cans or obvious beautification structure to house trash can in front of a home, there was one town in Chicagoland that passed an ordinance that residents could not park pickup trucks (C10s, F150s, Tacoma’s, Ranger’s, Colorado’s, etc) in a homeowners driveway if it faced the street. If you remember the carton/TV show Dennis The Menace, I call the propronents of these stupid ordinances the Mr Wilsons of the community, people with literally nothing else to do but attend town meetings and initiate or support idiotic ordinances like these. The Mr. Wilsons of my town specialize in preventing traffic bottleneck victims, including my fellow residents, from driving through my neighborhood to bypass traffic, and marking the main street through town as a ‘No U Turn” zone, so residents must drive nearly to the next town in order to change direction. I can’t wait to retire and counteract some of the inane and stupid town laws forced upon us by these busybodies.

  • avatar
    Garak

    The washing water would flow to the street, which is illegal in some places. Don’t know about Garden City though. Local ordinances are often badly written, contradictory and extremely annoying.

    Anyway, using a pressure washer on that car would most likely cause it to dissolve into a pile of rust.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Small town councils and HOAs sound like a good idea, but like communism, they quickly mutate into black holes of petty jealousy and over reach. Too many meddlesome rules, better to settle disputes by single combat!

  • avatar
    brettc

    That’s a fine looking Golf in the driveway, so I can kind of see why their neighbour(s) might not be fond of them. That being said, there’s no way I’d ever live in an area like that. We thought about it at one point but after seeing the HOA rules, decided there was no way even though it would have been a new house. I enjoy washing my cars in “public view”. So do most of my neighbours that don’t subscribe to the rain wash theory.

  • avatar
    cartunez

    As if I needed another reason to never move up north. The cop did handle the situation better than most Barney’s – the guys didn’t accidentally wind up dead and or tazed.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      These HOAs are all over the country, actually in the northeast they are less common lots of old houses. I live in a 1922 Bungalow on a non-conforming lot with no HOA. The house was here long before any of the rules were.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Seems like there’s a little more here than meets the eye. The car looks like a mild P-O-S; doesn’t have plates on it and one of the voices in the video says his brother (or whomever) just bought it yesterday, in Connecticut.

    So, what I’m thinking is that perhaps these fellows are running a little used car business out of their house . . . and the neighbor is upset about it (probably because of a parade of junky cars, maybe prospective buyers, etc. going on next door/across the street whatever. I could be totally wrong in my hunch, but if my guess is right, I don’t blame the neighbor for calling the cops.

    This didn’t have the feel of “oh, I’m going to wash the family car on a Saturday afternoon” to it.

    And, yes, the cop handled himself very professionally.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      You may be right.

      But the fact remains that it isn’t illegal to wash a car at one’s residence in Garden City, New York. The cop doesn’t understand what a “public place” is.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        Negative, I think you’re wrong on this. “Public place” does NOT mean “Public Property.” It simply means somewhere “in public” – which could well be a person’s front yard or driveway. Here’s the definition, quoted from NY penal code:

        PUBLIC PLACE: a place to which the public or a substantial group of persons has access, and includes, but is not limited to, highways, transportation facilities, schools, places of amusement, parks, playgrounds, and hallways, lobbies and other portions of apartment houses and hotels not constituting rooms or apartments designed for actual residence.

        —-

        Thus, LOTS of those places listed are on PRIVATE property. Yes, these fellas could wash the car in their bedroom, no problemo. But the driveway is a public place – at least according to NY law.

        • 0 avatar
          kmoney

          While I see respect your point, I would disagree with that interpretation.

          “Has access” does not mean the same as can see in to. Why they separate lobbies from apartment houses or hallways from hotel rooms in the definition is that you can reasonably and legally exclude people from the latter. I would argue that same is true about a driveway, even though it is not walled off and separated in the same manner.

          From a recent NY ruling involving consumption of alcohol in a “public place:”

          “…the New York City Council … defined “public place” in a restrictive manner which differs significantly from the definition of that term in other New York City Administrative Code provisions. The legislative intent may be properly inferred from the title of the offense itself, “Consumption of Alcohol on Streets Prohibited” (emphasis added), a clear prohibition on the consumption of alcoholic beverages on the public streets and similar locations traditionally considered the functional equivalent of public streets, such as highways, playgrounds, sidewalks, beaches, and amusement parks.

          There is simply no basis to conclude that the interior common areas of residential apartment buildings, often separated from the streets by locked doors, intercoms, and “no trespassing” signs, are part of the public streets, whether the interior area is a rooftop garden, gymnasium, laundry room, hallway, lobby or elevator.”

          http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=6011080429544934449

          All items in that second paragraph are to do with exclusion of the general public, and all — though they may not be present in this one example — apply to the man’s own house.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Even if you extend the public space definition to include private property, the driveway of a single-family residence would not be considered to be public space.

          • 0 avatar

            If that’s the case, would a cop need probable cause or a warrant to even step on the driveway?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Probable cause isn’t necessary for a stop. Reasonable suspicion is all that is needed to briefly detain, pat down and question someone (with the emphasis on “briefly”.)

            If the cop witnessed a crime in progress, then he has probable cause. The property line doesn’t get the same Fourth Amendment protection as does the interior of a house.

            But in this case, there was no crime in progress. To argue that a driveway of a single-family home is a “public space” is a real stretch.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          You miss the key point of the definition, which is that the public “has access”. There is no right of public access to a person’s driveway or front yard – that’s actually trespassing.

          • 0 avatar
            A_Cop

            I don’t know about NY, but in the state I work in, and the other states I have experience with, the status of a driveway depends on whether or not there exists a reasonable expectation of privacy.

            If the mailman, a neighbor, or anyone else has access to your yard, then I do also. If you have a six foot fence around your property that prevents people from seeing in, or a gate that keeps people out, then I don’t. I don’t need a warrant or PC to enter your yard unless it is blocked to everyone else. Many commenters like to point out that the police are civilians, and they are correct. They should keep in mind, however, that being civilians gives us the ability to go where everyone else can go. If you want to keep the police off your driveway, the only way to do so is to build a wall around your property line. Even then, that only stops casual entry – we can still enter under other circumstances.

            Recently there was an article on this website about the police investigating a person’s vehicle exhaust in the vehicle owner’s driveway. If I remember correctly, it was in Canada, but the results would have been the same here. If I can approach your door off-duty, then I can do so on-duty. If I have access to your car off-duty, then I do on-duty.

            For purposes of this type of law, the driveway is considered public, despite the fact that it is privately owned. I have ticketed people in their own front yards for public drinking and drunk in public. The fact that they are standing on private property doesn’t mean anything – the area was accessable to the public.

            Bottom line? If you want the police to stay off your property, build a tall wall.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      I agree that these guys might have been running some type of business out of their driveway. I can’t draw conclusions about who is “right”, though, because I don’t know the whole story.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I have to agree with @DC Bruce. I get the vibe that these guys do this sort of crap on a regular basis. I suspect that there is more to this complaint than washing a car. The police did spend some time checking out the VIN and plates. The fact that the whole incident was recorded also sets off my BS meter.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I believe that this was recorded because the neighbor and the car reseller had words and the neighbor threatened to call the cops. The tone of the car washer’s voice clearly says that he was ready for action. So, the camera was set up ahead of time. DC Bruce is correct. This guy is running a business out of his home, one that creates noise and brings people to buy crap cars. Put yourself in the neighbor’s shoes for a minute. You just laid out nearly a million bucks for your home and your neighbor makes a racket and bring buyers of thousand dollar cars next to you on a regular basis. Yeah the law is stupid, but the police are using it to end a quality of life situation, or maybe more. Perhaps the neighbor has a 5 year old daughter that he’s concerned by low-income transients. That sounds pretty condescending and snotty, but having grown up in this type of community, I get where he is coming from. I evaded this kind of crap simply because two acre minimum zoning keeps enough space between people to prevent, or at least minimize, such hostilities.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I love how laws are written to prevent man from doing the exact same thing nature does. When I was with Wal-Mart I worked in a city that said we couldn’t wash down the cement in the garden dept with a hose because the dirt runoff would get in the storm drain, but if it rained on that same cement and the dirt ran off into the drain, that was fine. Makes no sense.

    These guys should have washed the car and taken the ticket and fought it in court

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      I’m not worried about the Wal-Marts in town. They have lawyers on retainer to handle problems with residents who don’t want them in their town, a problem like you explained is just another objection that they’re equipped to argue, if it was important enough for local Wal-Mart management to pursue. As a private town resident, you need to band together with other like-minded folks to reverse the ordinance, maybe starting with a petition, and check the public record of the meeting when the ordinance was approved to find out who were the town proponents: private citizens, water department, sewage department, health department, so that you know who you’re up against.

  • avatar
    kuvakas

    I’m always a little suspicious of videos like this, taken from the accused perspective. The police man seemed courteous enough and the car washer, at least one of them, was fairly confrontational. I heard the cop mention “detailing” and found myself wondering if these guys were running a detailing operation on their driveway and that’s why the complaint was made.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      I was wondering the same thing. It doesn’t even appear that any actual ‘washing’ had taken place (and probably the reason the cop didn’t issue a citation). The cop even makes a statement that he doesn’t have the time to drive around, watching for someone to wash their car so as to issue a ticket.

      It appears that the ‘suspects’ were there waiting for the cops to show up, as if they had just had a similar conversation with the offended neighbor who likely told them they were going to call the cops. I’d even go so far as to guess that the cops had spoken with the neighbor and it was, in fact, the neighbor who supplied the photocopy of the law.

      It really would be nice to know the whole story. That Golf isn’t in exactly pristine condition.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    i dont get it

    where i am you can wash your car on the street, on your own property and you can do work on your house on the weekends

    what’s with all the silly laws?

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    slso i’m of the opinion if the guys were washing a 1989 Porsche 911 or a 2004 Mercedes E320 it wouldnt be an issue

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Stupid law; remind me to never live there.

    Cities and states with silly laws, high taxes, and overbearing regulations wonder why people flee them, because their big government mentality surely provides a more peaceful society in which to live. But there are always people who can’t leave – or won’t – due to their circumstances, and just tolerate it.

    And the neighbor has a problem. If the difference between ‘public’ and ‘private’ ever gets sorted out, I’d like to see him wash that car every Saturday.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Sometimes I have nightmares about living in a city. This would be a possible scene from one of those nightmares. When I lived in the city I once replaced my garage door and had a ticket because the new door spent more than 3 days in the new door coat of white paint. Had to be beige to match the house. Don’t need to know all the details to know I wouldn’t live there.

    My deed restriction says I can’t raise hogs and that’s about as restrictive as I care to get. The city moves a little closer every year but minding your own business is pretty high on everyone’s agenda. After having spent 20+ years in the military I do understand both sides. However, that’s a reason I live in the country.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      If my garage burns down, the neighbor’s giant tree falls on it, or if it otherwise needs to be replaced, it has to be brick. It doesn’t match my house at, but it predates the ordinance. Here’s to hoping it will last another 40 years.

  • avatar
    George B

    I bought a house in an older neighborhood in Plano, TX specifically to avoid HOA restrictions. A place where I could work on my cars on the back driveway, but nice enough that people maintained their property in the front. During the period of rapid growth, city inspectors were too busy to bother with my neighborhood. Now they come around to nag me about trimming my trees and to fine me if I use water on the wrong days. Washing my car is basically banned, but tolerated. I react by parking my car on the back yard and hand water the grass (allowed activity) using the runoff from washing the car. Probably violating some rule, but water is economized with no tell-tale runoff down the alley.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I set up rain barrels this year to harvest water, and it worked very well. I don’t know if you get enough rain in Plano to make it worthwhile, but here in the Detroit area, it was an excellent investment.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Isn’t there some sort of abuse law that disallows pressure washers on a Mark 3 Golf? I had one of those — a stiff breeze could take all the trim off the body, I can’t even imagine what 1,000+ psi would do.

  • avatar
    slow kills

    A private driveway is a public road as far as the law is concerned. Feel free to park an unregistered car there if you believe otherwise.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      No, it isn’t.

      A public place is public property that is generally accessable to the public. City parks and beaches, the town square, and the public libraries are examples of public spaces.

      A residence is private property. Private property is not public space.

      Not even all public property is public space. For example, if the police department has a location where it services (and washes) its vehcles, then that is probably not a public space.

      Also, US states generally allow people to own unregistered vehicles. But they can’t be driven on public highways.

      • 0 avatar
        Avatar77

        Private property that is generally open and accessible to the public is a public place, however I think it’s a stretch to classify a residential driveway as such. I suspect there is a LOT more to this story, much like there was a lot more to the story of the Nissan Leaf driver who got busted for plugging in at a school in GA.

      • 0 avatar
        slow kills

        As is evidenced by the fact that a person can drive right up, a driveway is a public way. Have fun calling the cops on someone pulling into your drive to turn around. It is legal because that driveway is a public way.
        Ownership and legal usage are two different things,as you state, but it goes the other way too. The sidewalk in front of a house is privately owned, public way. Same with the driveway.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          A sidewalk is public property that is designed to be used by the general public.

          A driveway of a single-family residence is private property that is not intended for use by the general public.

          There is no comparison between those two things.

          In this case, the cop believed that it was public space because it could be seen from the street. But that is not the definition of a public space.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I am allowed to put up chains, fences, or gates that block access to my driveway. I can also tear up my driveway and plant grass or trees in its place.

          I can’t legally do the same to the sidewalk or public street.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Some states (including mine) may allow you to have unregistered cars, but my city sure doesn’t. Any unregistered vehicle can be ticketed after 30 days whether you drove it or not. If the cops can see from the road that it is unregistered, you get a ticket. Which to some extent makes sense in a state where the excise tax on cars goes to the local government – they want their pound of flesh, of course. Simple solutions are to cover the car such that the license plate cannot be seen – they are not allowed to go on your property to see if the car is registered – or keep it in a garage.

        And yes, I found all this out due to a snotty neighbor who did not like my parts Volvo in my yard. Ha ha to her, I registered it and left it there for another two years in increasing states of decrepitude just to spite her.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Get a gate, keep it closed and put up a big “BEWARE OF DOG” sign. Otherwise, police, code enforcement or whoever are free to drive right in and start writing you up for everything they see wrong. This even though it’s clearly private property with “NO TRESPASSING” signs everywhere. Otherwise they’ll treat it as a public street.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @DenverMike – the “Beware of Dog” sign has gotten people into legal trouble. If your dog bites someone, the sign is an admission that you own an aggressive dog. I’ve read of cases being won on that argument.
        “No trespassing” is valid and shifts the legal risk upon the one who tries to access it in any unauthorized fashion.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @Lou_BC – It’s a catch 22. If your dog does bite someone and you don’t have a sign up, you’re double screwed. My dogs are all bark, but the point is, it’s an extra hurdle for police, code enforcement, etc. Heck, even solicitors. Now they all have to have a good reason to open your gate and involve animal control services too. No gate, No signs and you might as well put up a big neon “OPEN” sign and a “WELCOME PLEASE ENTER”.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            True. To be a devil’s advocate – some areas do not allow fences or gates in front yards. I’ve even read of rules prohibiting certain kinds of dogs i.e. the so called aggressive breeds= Rottweiler’s, Pit Bulls, Dobermans, and German Sheppard’s.
            Too many rules and regulations.

    • 0 avatar

      Depends on state/local laws. Plenty of places you can have rusted hulks sitting in your drive way. If this weren’t the case I couldn’t have most of my cars and it’s not just lack of enforcement.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The Gestapo left Germany and moved to Garden City, NY and Coral Gables, Fl where they wanted to pass a law prohibiting parking ANY pickup truck in ANY residential driveway, but smarter heads prevailed and it was never passed.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      My father’s community in Jupiter Fl bans overnight parking of pickups, but everything else – without markings – is fair game. So I can have a painter’s van that is dented, splattered with paint, and leaking enough oil to mimic the Valdez and be in compliance, yet a $45K new pickup is not allowed. And the old folks, my father sadly included, look out like hawks for non-compliant vehicles, or anything that crosses the precious RULES. Why anybody would chose to live like this is unthinkable.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    I live in the next town to Garden City. Our house is in Queens county and we can park and wash our cars 24 hours a day. Garden City is in Nassau County which is like another world. They can not park on a public street overnight. All cars must be removed after a certain hours. I lived in Nassau when i was living at home. When i married i refused to buy a house in Nassau County. At one time it was a great place to live but after the elected crooks got done bleeding the county dry with taxes and overpaid union personal the county is on the ball of its axx. Taxes in some towns are $14,000.00 a year. Of course most of it is school taxes as every small town has their own school president and asst ($200,000.00+) and no one wants to change because they feel their house values will go down. Meanwhile if anyone retires they can not afford to live in the house that they paid off over the years. My brother-in-law spent most of his working life designing the moon shuttle making a very good salary and when he retired he had to move. I could go on but just wanted to give everyone an idea of life in Nassau county. Buy the way that cop could make $185,000.00 a year with some overtime.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    I hate to be picky about issues like this, but “threated” by police?

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    It’s all up to how the HOA is run. I’m on our HOA board and we enforce by the spirit of the law, not the letter. Technically cars aren’t supposed to be washed in view – no one complains and if someone did we’d tell them to talk to the neighbor. Our community is a private street, so law enforcement wouldn’t be involved in these petty matters.

    The people on the board sound like tools.

  • avatar
    RangerM

    While using a (noisy) pressure washer to wash a car seems like extreme overkill, just how do people who live there cut the grass?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Or my two stroke snowblower. I’m sure that one day, someone will want to tell me I can’t use Smokey the Beast anymore. I already can’t replace my Toro 2-stroke snow blower if it ever breaks. I’ve used it since I was 13.

  • avatar
    rdchappell

    This makes me glad my city is largely lacking in HOAs.

  • avatar
    baggins

    My city has a rule against car washing in your driveway. Tickets have been issued. NOTHING to do with HOAs. Its a city rule, and is done in the name of being green. SF Bay Area.

    Very, very liberal municipality. Almost impossible to get anything built. To preserve the environment they say, but also has a nice side effect of keeping house prices on the rise. A 3/2 1400 square foot rancher on a 5000 sq foot lot, built in the 60s goes for $1M+

  • avatar
    beefmalone

    Barney doesn’t understand the difference between public view and public place.

  • avatar
    otaku

    Took a quick look at the video, but couldn’t really make out most of what the police officer was saying all that clearly. Then again, even if he was using a megaphone, I don’t think his overall point would’ve made much sense to me.

    I don’t live in NY (thank God), so I can’t comment on their rules involving used car purchasing or the transfer of vehicle ownership as it pertains to registration/license plates. Where I live, I’m pretty sure you’re allowed a seven business day grace period after buying a car, in order to get it properly registered, inspected, and insured. In the meantime, you’re supposed to keep the previous owner’s signed over title and/or bill of sale documentation on hand just in case somebody decides to alleviate their own boredom by accusing you of being a thief.

    I’m not sure what the neighbor’s/HOA problem is. It’s not as if they can prevent anyone from parking whatever POS car they want in their own driveway. Don’t get me wrong. I would never defend the decision to own any VW product, especially a refrigerator on wheels like the Golf; they just plain bother me. Nevertheless, if the issue has to do with property values, it’s as though they’re saying that a dirty Golf will negatively affect things less than a clean one. That’s going WAY out of your way to be silly and for some reason the police have decided to humor these morons.

    Also, I was considering hiring a contractor at some point next summer to re-surface my driveway (once I manage to scrape together enough cash). However, if the “powers that be” decide they suddenly want to declare it public property, then I certainly have no problem with letting them pick up the bill for the cost of the repair work.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    1. Find out which neighbor complained.

    2. Slash two of said neighbor’s tires. Why only two? Because you want to stay under the insurance deductible so that the only one who has to fork over cash is the nimby-whiner him (her?)self rather that the insurance companies and by extension, the public. Why two tires rather than only one? So that the s.o.b. has to call a tow truck, thus supporting local business.

    3. Do this as many times as necessary until they cease and desist (leaving a cooling-off period between events to avoid creating an insurance claim.

    4. Don’t get caught.

    I know I lost some of you back there who are likely thinking “That’s pretty lame and cowardly of you. If I have a beef with someone I go directly to them with it and tell ‘em to their face rather than sneak around taking it out on their car and pocket book.”

    Here’s my take on that: Said neighbor didn’t afford me that courtesy. Rather, he hid behind his phone and called the gestapo. Fuh…. er, to hell with him and the socialist bandwagon he rode in on.

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      I generally don’t support motor vehicle vandalism because if someone did it to me I wouldn’t hesitate to return the favor on their house. But I may have, kinda sorta learnt in auto school that you can shove a match or glue a BB in a valve stem cap. The tire will develop a slow leak that is hard to detect and likely will be redone by the owner when they put the cap back on after filling the tire with air.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Zeus, while I support your approach against red light cameras and the like, the guy is running a business out of his driveway in an expensive residential area. This is not a guy maintaining his own car. Listen carefully to the video and it is quite clear what is going on. No socialism here. A fat cat that plunked down a million bucks of his hard earned cash from his stock exchange job does not want undesirables that buy thousand dollar cars coming in and out of his neighbor’s house on a regular basis to buy junk cars. Sounds pretty righty tighty to me…

      • 0 avatar
        Ion

        How is that clear? I only see one car. I just assumed it was some rich kids who’s parents probably buy them everything about to throw a bunch of money away into a VW who don’t get along with a neighbor. I have a customer who buys crappy cars drops and turbos them. When he inevitably blows the engine he goes back to construction business daddy for more money.

  • avatar
    ctg

    I have it on good authority that the neighbor drives a full size pickup truck, even though a midsize truck would meet his needs 99% of the time and he could just rent a full-size when he needs it.

    His wife drives a CUV.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    And this is why I moved out of the city/suburbs.

    I have too many cars and am always working on something. My yard doesn’t look trashy at all though. The front of the house looks great, and the junk sits hidden out back by the barn which is over a acre away from the road.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      That reminds me of a guy telling a joke at work about a person who always wanted to pick up some property but never did. All he did was talk about getting some property. So his coworker, tired of the stories, kicked him squarely in the balls and said “There. Now you have two acres”

  • avatar
    don1967

    Be well, John Spartan, and remember to un-dirt your conveyance in the appropriate location.

    This smells like a case of using a bad law to get revenge on a bad neighbour. I mean the guy does come off as a bit of a douchebag in his own video. Not saying this justifies an infringement on private property, but in this case there is a sense of Karma about it.

  • avatar
    redpoint5

    The officer makes a legal claim that you cannot wash a car in a public place. Obviously, the driveway is not a public place because the owner can legally have the public removed from their driveway.

    I would have washed the car and told the officer to leave my property, or I would call the police (the real ones that protect the rights and property of the citizens).

    There are a lot of unverified assumptions in the comments which are incorrect to conclude. Nowhere does the officer say anything about illegally operating a business, and there is no evidence from the video that this was the case. Even if it were an illegal business, it has nothing to do with washing a car on your own property.

    Ordinances already exist regarding noise levels and time of day. If people don’t like the legally produced amounts of noise in their neighborhood, they are free to do any number of things about it. They can purchase double windows, ask the neighbor to quiet down, pay the neighbor to quiet down, or even move to another area.

    Moving likely won’t do anything to improve their happiness though, as complainers are usually determined to be dissatisfied with whatever situation they find themselves in. People looking to be offended will undoubtedly be successful in finding it.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I’d always wash my car at my condo and it was totally banned. But I didn’t make a big production of it. Just washed it and gone, 10 minutes max. No one said a word.

    That’s all they’re really concerned with. Water running down the street, vacuum going for 30 minutes, doors wide open, floor mats spread out, stereo blasting, tire glaze mess.

    And who needs a pressure washer?

  • avatar
    Jasper2

    Guess the criminals know that the police in G.C. are focusing on car washing since so many banks have been robbed in the past few weeks on Franklin Avenue in that city. Considering the high taxes G.C. residents pay, the fact that they can’t wash their cars in front of their very own houses is pure bull. What’s next—arrest a church group that does a charity car wash? I would so quickly move the hell out of G.C. and go the freedom of upstate New York. G.C. is way over rated. A traffic nightmare upper middle class city surrounded by ghettos.

    • 0 avatar
      Jasper2

      The first day that it is not freezing in G.C. after January 1, 2014, every G.C. resident with a car should turn their hoses on their cars in their driveways AND every doughnut shop should close. What will the P.D. do then? Call out the National Guard? Declare martial law?
      Eat frozen doughnuts?


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