“Constuction that will block the alley (and our driveway)”

by Prince Of Petworth October 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm 12 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“A multi-unit building is under construction on the opposite side of our alley. Today they built parking spaces, one of them is too small for the lot and if anyone were to park there, it would most certainly jut out into the alley, and would block me from entering or exiting my driveway with my vehicle. What can I do to stop this? This will be a huge problem for us if they actually sell this space to some unsuspecting condo buyer.”

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  • Shaw

    I’d check the plat lines with the city and see where their property actually stops. Often times, property extends into what is perceived to be public space, but it’s actually private. If it’s on public space, ask the city to send an inspector to document it and have them remove it. If it’s actually private space, your best bet is to call a land use lawyer and file for a permanent easement against the condo building under the continuous use doctrine.
    Either way, assuming you can see your property from the proposed parking spot, I’d get a nice big sign printed up that you place on your own property that says something along the lines of “Attention Condo Buyers in 1234 Whatever Street: The parking space behind the building (or space #X) is being contested with the city as an illegal space. Vehicles parked here may be subject to towing at the owners risk and expense. Purchase or lease this space at your own risk!”

    • anonymous shaw dweller

      Well said.

      • gabeyo

        Shaw said it perfectly.

  • wdc

    Maybe it’s intended for Car2Go. Isn’t there some kind of incentive for providing carshare spaces? Would a SmartCar fit?
    Call your councilmember’s office. I recently had an issue with alley access, and they were very helpful.

    • boybert

      Car2Go cars don’t have assigned parking spaces, that’s the whole point of the service.

  • Anonymous

    I’m having trouble understanding how a parking spot across the alley will interfere with your ability to park. You have an extremely narrow alley? If so, your car may possibly be too big for the constraints of the alley if you were relying on that previously empty space to turn your car around. The onus may be on you to drive a smaller car.
    Find the plat online and that will tell you where the property line is.

    • Anonymous

      Read it again. OP is saying that the spot is too small and any car parked there will be partially in the alley. OP is relying on the empty public alley to park their car, which is perfectly reasonable.

      • anon

        “any car parked there”
        Cars come in a LOT of sizes. Is the space too small for a smartcar? Too small for a Mini Cooper? Too small for a Camry? Too small for a Chevy Suburban?
        There just wasn’t enough information in the post to assess that OP really thought that hard about it.

  • jelly

    I had a similar problem in my alley. A neighbor across the alley used to park his large SUV so the back stuck about 3 feet into our 8′ wide alley, causing all of the transiting cars to drive onto my property to get past. After getting a nice one-fingered salute when I asked him to stop parking in the right of way, I just started parking my car, still completely on my property, but right up to the alley line. Took all of two hours for the other neighbors, and a cop, to convince the jerk neighbor not to park in the right of way anymore. I suggest you do something similar, and that you also call DCRA and ask them to send out an inspector.

  • Anonymous

    I guess my only issue here is that OP is assuming that the too-small space is intended to be a parking spot and will be sold and used as such. I don’t know the exact configuration or construction of it, but it could just be that they paved it since there is no other obvious use for it, or maybe it’s a place to keep trash cans. Or maybe it is big enough to fit a small car, and there’s no reason it shouldn’t be used for that. Regardless, it’s land, and the developer is allowed to pave it and sell it if it wants to – there’s nothing illegal about that and I can’t imagine there’s a way to intervene to prevent them from doing so. IANAL.

    • anon

      +1. If someone parks there and impedes on the ROW, then that person’s vehicle should be ticketed. If that person can’t use a space they purchased because it’s too small for their car, they’ll need to buy a smaller car or sue the seller for false advertising. I once rented a space in a row of three that was fairly small, and it was a stipulation of the rental that I couldn’t park a car there over a certain length (my coupe was fine, but a full-size sedan or bigger wouldn’t have been).

  • Anonymous

    Are you sure it’s for parking? The city has minimum parking spot size regulations that are part of the building inspection. The area may be used for holding the garbage cans, a landing for stairs, or another amenity (e.g.,storage shed).
    I don’t think its for a car. If the car was hanging out into the public alley, a garbage truck or other car would scrape it and cause major damage. No rationale car owner would ever park there if their car was at risk of serious damage.


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