saclaw logoQ. How many cars can a property owner park at their single family home in the City of Sacramento?

Been meaning to ask that for years.

Thank you.


A. The answer, as it is to most legal questions, is “it depends.” There is no set number in the Sacramento City Code. But, there are circumstances in which having “too many cars” parked in a residential area can be a violation of the Sacramento Zoning ordinances.

Section 17.228.101, “Personal auto storage,” applies to all areas zoned for residential use in the City of Sacramento. That ordinance states that “[a]uto storage is a permissible accessory use if the vehicle being stored is registered to a resident of the premises,” as long as “[a]ny service, repair, or storage of the vehicle [is] located on an approved paved surface and [does] not violate any other provision of this title or the city code.” In addition, no more than two vehicles may be undergoing service or repair or may be stored on the premises at any one time. A vehicle that is inoperable or in pieces is presumed to be undergoing repair.

Similarly, section 10.52.020 of the Vehicles and Traffic Code, “Minor vehicle repair,” provides that “[i]t is unlawful and a public nuisance for any person to engage in minor vehicle repair in any residential zone,” if the vehicle a) is not registered to a current occupant of the premises where the work is being performed; or b) the repair is conducted “[o]utside a fully enclosed structure, except that minor vehicle repair may be performed outside a fully enclosed structure where elapsed time between the beginning and end of the repair does not exceed forty-eight (48) hours;” or c) repairs are performed “[u]pon more than two vehicles at one time on the same premises or by the same person.”

“Major vehicle repairs” are governed by section 10.52.030(A) of the Vehicles and Traffic Code, which provides that “[i]t is unlawful and a public nuisance for any person to engage in major vehicle repair in a residential zone, unless all of the following conditions exist:

  1. The repair is performed within a fully enclosed structure; and

2.  The vehicle under repair is registered to a current occupant of the premises; and

3.  No more than two vehicles are being repaired at one time on the same premises or by the same person.

Notwithstanding the above, body painting, other than spot painting, is not permitted in a residential zone. § 10.52.030(B).

Finally, section 10.52.050 of the Vehicles and Traffic Code governs the “Accumulation of vehicle parts,” and provides that “[i]t is unlawful and a public nuisance to keep, store, or accumulate vehicle parts and auto body parts outside a residential structure which are within the view of persons on adjacent or nearby real property or the public right-of-way and which constitute visual blight or reduce the aesthetic appearance of the neighborhood or are offensive to the senses or are detrimental to nearby property or property values.”

Although the terms “major vehicle repair,” “minor vehicle repair,” and “vehicle” are defined in the “Definitions” section, 10.52.010 of the Sacramento City Vehicles and Traffic Code, the word “store,” is not defined in either the Vehicles and Traffic or the Planning and Development (Zoning) Codes. I wouldn’t think the word “store” has the same meaning as the word “park” in the City Code, but if I’m wrong, Readers, please let me know!

Of course, if you have a Home Owners Association, when and where you can park is governed by the rules and regulations of the HOA rather than the City Code. I have a friend who lives in a planned development and her HOA mandates that she can “park” her car in the guest parking lot, but she cannot “store” it there. “Parking” means moving the car within 72 hours, and “storing” it means leaving it for more than 72 hours without moving it.

Hope this helps, Diane!

Do you have a question for the County Law Librarian? Just email 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