When Do You Not Own Your Property?

In DC, you don’t own your driveway or lawn. Now it’s finally coming to the attention of the press since the Congresswoman with no vote started getting tickets for parking in her own driveway.

My old office suffered from this problem. There were no warnings. One day officers just started ticketing all of the cars in the parking lot claiming that it was really public space and not a parking lot. Nevermind that it had been a parking lot since the building was zoned for business or that it was completely paved. We were told we had to preserve it as open space for the city, yet we were also responsible for maintaining it in bad weather. Several very expensive “tax” payments eventually resulted in special permission for us to use it. They had to be paid quarterly, so I wonder if changing this law will finally solve the problem for my old former employer.

6 Responses to “When Do You Not Own Your Property?”

  1. Linoge says:

    Well, running a protection racket would be a little… too obvious, and since property is already taxed, well, why not tax it just a little more? And people wonder why that municipality has a negative population growth…

  2. Steve W says:

    Wow. First I smack the desk in frustration at such a dumb and intrusive law, then I have to laugh.

    When the NRA fights for a bill to force companies to allow CCW’s in a parking lot if locked in the car, some on the gun rights side complain that it’s unfair to the property owner, who should be able to be as anti-gun on their property as they want — and they do have a good logic. Nothing wrong for being on the side of rights, including property rights.

    But compared to this … Wow. Just wow. How does a city in America get to this place?

  3. teqjack says:

    So, if I visit D.C., I an park my car in that part of anyone’s driveway and have a picnic on their front lawn?

    And no, this is NOT the same as people wanting to walk along a beach: in most of the cases where that has been fought, the beach (or at least that part of it between high and low tide coverage) is not owned by the adjoining property.

    Alas, it IS similar to laws about sidewalks, which can range from fairly sensible to downright weird.

  4. Crucis says:

    In most states, that would be called extortion. But, when you have a city run by criminals, it’s just business as usual.

  5. Ian Argent says:

    That’s just insane. I’d say even for DC; but I lived in Fairfax Co for a number of years and could watch the follies

  6. Matt Groom says:

    I’m not sure how I would react towards having my car ticketed for being parked in my own driveway, but it would probably involve violence of some kind.


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