Q: I live in a neighborhood that has only been partially developed. There is a large area of land that has had residential streets and electrical work put in, but the homes have not been built yet. Some of the people in the neighborhood have started using the undeveloped residential streets to park or store heavy equipment, huge industrial-type trailers, and big-rigs. Sometimes it’s just overnight, other times they’re are being stored for days or weeks, sometimes unattached to a truck. Is this legal? If not, how do I report it so it stops?
– Eric

Parking is governed by a variety of state, county, and city laws. State laws are very broad, such as prohibiting parking on bridges or in tunnels, or requiring you to park with your wheels less than 18 inches from the curb. The authority to make more specific laws, such as those related to time limits, permits, and parking zones, rests with city and county governments.

Whether city or county law applies depends on where the vehicle is parked. Vehicles parked within city limits or on city property are subject to city laws. Vehicles parked on county property or in unincorporated parts of the county are subject to county laws. It can be difficult to determine which laws apply. As a general rule, if the vehicle is parked on a street with a green street sign, it’s a city street; if the street sign is white, it’s a county street.

Sacramento City and County have enacted many similar parking ordinances. For example, a vehicle parked on a roadway for more than 72 hours is considered an abandoned vehicle, which is in violation of Sacramento County Code 10.24.070(b) and Sacramento City Code 10.36.080 A (1). Abandoned vehicles are subject to ticketing and towing.

Commercial vehicles, such as semi-trailers or tractor-trailers, are prohibited from parking on public streets in residential areas for more than one hour within a twenty-four hour period per Sacramento County Code 10.24.070 (h). Sacramento City Code similarly prohibits commercial vehicles from being parked on residential streets, except as necessary to deliver or pick up goods (Sacramento City Code 10.36.120).

There are many other parking laws that may apply in this situation. For example, under Sacramento County Code 10.24.070 (j), trailers and semi-trailers must be attached to a vehicle at all times when parked on public streets. You will want to check the city or county code, to determine what laws, if any, are being violated. Parking ordinances for the City of Sacramento can be found at http://tinyurl.com/8ag5xl9, and for Sacramento County at http://tinyurl.com/8ftpxbd.

To report an abandoned vehicle or other parking violation in the City of Sacramento, call 3-1-1 or fill out an online report. If you have an iPhone, there’s also a new app you can download.

For abandoned vehicles in Sacramento County, call 916-875-5656 or file a report online. Other parking violations should be reported to Sacramento County Parking Enforcement at (916) 876-6642 (see http://tinyurl.com/8bgxfyz for more information). Information reporting parking violations in other cities in Sacramento County is available online at http://www.sacta.org/p_savsa_procedures.html.

Do you have a question for the County Law Librarian? Just email sacpress@saclaw.org. If your question is selected your answer will appear in next Thursday’s column. Even if your question isn’t selected, though, I will still respond within two weeks.

Coral Henning, Director
@coralh & @saclawlibrarian