Author Topic: San Francisco: It’s illegal to store anything other than a car in the garage  (Read 705 times)

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Offline flowers

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http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/jan/8/san-francisco-its-illegal-store-anything-other-car/

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n San Francisco, storing that weed trimmer and old sports equipment in apartment or hotel garages can get you fined up to $500. In fact, it’s illegal to store anything besides an automobile.

Chapter 6 of the San Francisco Housing Code reads: “Private and public storage garages in apartment houses and hotels shall be used only for storage of automobiles,” the Institute for Justicereported.


“It’s absolutely ridiculous, especially in San Francisco, where storage space is at a premium — you expect to be able to do with your garage whatever you need to do with it,” resident Kimberly Conleytold the San Francisco Gate. “If you’re not going to use your garage for a car, it should be your space to do as you please.”


Offline happyg

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My garage is jammed-pack full of stuff that I have no where else to put it. I do have room for my car. This is a ridiculous law. It's no one's business what is inside a garage.

Offline flowers

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My garage is jammed-pack full of stuff that I have no where else to put it. I do have room for my car. This is a ridiculous law. It's no one's business what is inside a garage.
Don't most garages have the hookup for the washer and dryer in the garage?


Offline EC

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My garage is jammed-pack full of stuff that I have no where else to put it. I do have room for my car. This is a ridiculous law. It's no one's business what is inside a garage.

This is a state where a couple, in the middle of a drought, were fined for pulling up their lawn and replacing it with a low water use garden. Logic and sense don't come into it.
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Offline mountaineer

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So one may not store a motorcycle or bicycle in the garage - only automobiles?
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Offline Millee

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What in the world could be the "logic" behind this????   :shrug:

Offline truth_seeker

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As a real estate broker, in a fairly dense suburban area, let me comment. San Francisco is quite dense, like the close in sections of most cities.

My area is suburban, but demand for housing continues to justify more, and more dense housing projects.  The developer wants the most units per acre he can get. The city SHOULD be zoning in a manner to assure ample parking, for the residents.

The city's motivations are mixed; maximize tax revenue from the new housing, but get adequate parking, so the new residents don't park in nearby areas.

Condos, such as new infill projects are much like older neighborhoods, in that they are very dense.

What they are doing with the parking regulations in SF is trying to get vehicles off the streets, into garages.

Many existing townhome/condo projects have similar rules; can't park personal vehicles in guest spaces. How strictly enforced is case by case.

An additional motive by city government is eliminate illegal bootleg apartments in garages; safety etc.

I looked at a neighborhood in SF called "Outer Sunset" just south of Golden Gate Park. Homes from the 40s and 50s, single family, narrow lots, 2 levels, first level has single garage door, opening into a space large enough for 2+ vehicles, etc.

This space could also accommodate a single car garage area, and a studio apartment. Many likely do so. The city would want as much of the area to be used for parking vehicles, as space on streets is very scarce.

Probably the deal in SF is to get cars into garages, off the streets where parking is so limited.



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Offline musiclady

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So where are you supposed to store your weed trimmer? 

In the bedroom??  Bathroom?  Hall closet??



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Offline NavyCanDo

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In densely populated areas I can see the logic in not allowing residential street parking which would leave it up to the owners to make room for the car in the garage. But dictating what can be stored in the garage and what cannot is a way over the top invasion of peoples personal property rights.
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Offline NavyCanDo

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I have vowed never to let my garage become so full of “stuff” that I could not get the cars in. Been in this house for 16 years and we are still living up to that.
Now when my in-laws eventually will us their pool table, pin ball machines, slot machines and other cool stuff it’s going to be a choice of either renovate the garage into a game room or add an addition. I ain’t letting that stuff go. 
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Offline alicewonders

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Unfortunately, it's been many years since we've been able to get both of our cars in the garage.   8888crybaby

As antique dealers, our garage is basically a warehouse.  I think we might be hoarders.   :chairbang:
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Offline rangerrebew

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I'll bet you can store all the pot and other drugs you have in your garage and the authorities would "overlook" them - for a hit, of course. :silly:
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Offline DCPatriot

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Something to take into consideration....

When somebody has to circle the block a couple of times to find a parking spot, because almost all the street parking is taken by people who use their coveted garages for storage, it's something to address.

IOW....the twisted liberal mind takes the approach that if you have access to a garage, you should have to use that and not the curb or driveway.

It's another form of allocation and redistribution.

.....another case of liberals' good intentions that encroach on personal liberty and choice.
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Offline Rapunzel

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I have vowed never to let my garage become so full of “stuff” that I could not get the cars in. Been in this house for 16 years and we are still living up to that.
Now when my in-laws eventually will us their pool table, pin ball machines, slot machines and other cool stuff it’s going to be a choice of either renovate the garage into a game room or add an addition. I ain’t letting that stuff go.


We always kept both cars and our boat in the garage.  My washer and dryer are there, too... along with garden supplies, cleaning supplies, etc...
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Offline EC

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We always kept both cars and our boat in the garage.  My washer and dryer are there, too... along with garden supplies, cleaning supplies, etc...

That sounds more like a second house to this mouse.  :laugh:
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Offline happyg

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We always kept both cars and our boat in the garage.  My washer and dryer are there, too... along with garden supplies, cleaning supplies, etc...


My car is in the garage, along with  two snow blowers, a refrigerator and a freezer. Then, there is the junk... :silly:

Offline Rapunzel

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My car is in the garage, along with  two snow blowers, a refrigerator and a freezer. Then, there is the junk... :silly:


I have trash cans, coolers, some of my over-sized cooking pots, leaf blower, shop vac, my vacuum cleaner, floor mate, and floor steamer, mops, buckets, suitcase all in my car garage...... then there is the RV garage... no boat in there now (which is the envy of my neighbors who don't have enough lot for a RV garage) but camping gear, ski gear, cabinets (mostly empty) dog grooming area and all my Christmas Decorations, the third seat for the Suburban (which we took out when the car was brand new) and some miscellaneous tools - which I thinned way down after George died - I think he had three of everything.  His old studio is virtually empty but my freezer is there and one wall is lined with the tall white cabinets where I store stuff - like the plastic ware for food (since I don't cook anymore I have little use for this stuff) drink mixes, coffee, tea, etc... another has my sheets and towels, another some craft supplies, and another vitamins, baby food for my one dog, my homeopathic remedies....  I have my tread mill in the room and a wall-mount TV.... as well as an area to wrap gifts and some cabinets above...... 
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline musiclady

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We have a car, a camper, 2 freezers, a fridge, and a whole lotta junk.

Fortunately, no one around here would make such a stupid law!   ^-^
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Offline Rapunzel

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We have a car, a camper, 2 freezers, a fridge, and a whole lotta junk.

Fortunately, no one around here would make such a stupid law!   ^-^

My spare fridge died a couple of years ago and I didn't replace it once I saw the saving on my electric bill.  The heat in the summer is just too hard on appliances in either garage. I have to watch what I store out there - like no candles) because our heat takes a big toll...
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline Oceander

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As a real estate broker, in a fairly dense suburban area, let me comment. San Francisco is quite dense, like the close in sections of most cities.

My area is suburban, but demand for housing continues to justify more, and more dense housing projects.  The developer wants the most units per acre he can get. The city SHOULD be zoning in a manner to assure ample parking, for the residents.

The city's motivations are mixed; maximize tax revenue from the new housing, but get adequate parking, so the new residents don't park in nearby areas.

Condos, such as new infill projects are much like older neighborhoods, in that they are very dense.

What they are doing with the parking regulations in SF is trying to get vehicles off the streets, into garages.

Many existing townhome/condo projects have similar rules; can't park personal vehicles in guest spaces. How strictly enforced is case by case.

An additional motive by city government is eliminate illegal bootleg apartments in garages; safety etc.

I looked at a neighborhood in SF called "Outer Sunset" just south of Golden Gate Park. Homes from the 40s and 50s, single family, narrow lots, 2 levels, first level has single garage door, opening into a space large enough for 2+ vehicles, etc.

This space could also accommodate a single car garage area, and a studio apartment. Many likely do so. The city would want as much of the area to be used for parking vehicles, as space on streets is very scarce.

Probably the deal in SF is to get cars into garages, off the streets where parking is so limited.





I can see the rationale, and it's not such a bad one; however, it seems to me that the way in which that rationale is being carried out is stupid, to say the least.  If the owner of a house has her one car parked in her garage, then the fact that she also has skis, a weedwhacker, and a ladder stored in there is irrelevant to whether she's complying with the spirit, and thus the rationale, of the law.

There seems to be two distinct issues: (1) owners parking their cars on the streets instead of in their garages, and (2) owners converting their garages to illegal apartments.  As they're distinct, they should be dealt with separately.  As for the second issue, that should be a straightforward matter of zoning and building code enforcement:  the building code and zoning code should both make this sort of conversion illegal, and the city should have sufficient authority to enforce compliance - which it ought to if its building and zoning codes are anything like the garden-variety codes most municipalities have.

As for the first, it seems to me that the better way to approach it is to impose the obligation on the owner of a vehicle by requiring all vehicle owners to make appropriate arrangements for parking their vehicles; that should include a requirement that residents purchase a parking sticker for parking on the street, but deny such a permit to a resident who owns a house in SF unless that resident can demonstrate that either (a) his/her house doesn't have a garage, or (b) his/her garage is already occupied by a vehicle he/she owns or possesses (i.e., no renting out your garage to other parkers) and there is no more room for another car.  In this day and age, with computers, it should be relatively easy to double-check the data - e.g., the buildings department or the assessor's office should have data showing which houses have garages and which do not - and vehicle registrations should be bar-coded so a parking enforcement agent can quickly scan the registration to determine if the car is legally parked on the street.  Finally, the building department or code enforcement division could cross-check the vehicle registration records against the ownership records and parking violations records to get a good approximation of the houses they need to inspect for a possible illegal garage apartment.  By doing that you achieve the ends you want - raise some revenue by selling the right to park on the streets, and provide appropriate incentive to use the garage for what it was intended, but without getting into silliness like this where someone could be fined $500 because they have a weedwhacker sitting next to the car in the garage.


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