Couple fights city over front yard parking

June 17, 2009 5:35:24 PM PDT
A couple is fighting a law that bans them from parking their vehicles in their yard. The couple says it's their lawn, and they should have the right to do what they want. The debate continues in Baytown, where yard parking is against the law.

You can see where cars have been parked on Daniel McGrew's front yard in the past. On Wednesday, we found three of their four cars in the driveway, along with a boat. But a Baytown city ordinance says parking that fourth car in the front yard is illegal.

"I just don't agree because I think Baytown is trying to make it like a homeowners association, the whole thing," said McGrew. "And I don't think it's right."

Factor in that parking in the street on the one-block stretch of West Sterling is also illegal and the fine per day for parking in the front yard is $500. Furthermore, the city health department is right across the street, so city workers report him, he says.

That's a recipe for a lawsuit, according to the McGrew's attorney.

"Under Texas law, it's what we call inverse condemnation," said attorney Daniel Jackson. "Taking your property, they're taking use of your property without just compensation."

Baytown city Attorney Ignacio Ramirez refused to talk to us on camera, but he did say he has not seen the lawsuit yet. Ramirez told the Baytown Sun, however, that if the McGrews want to stay on the right side of the law, they should expand their driveway. It's an answer that doesn't sit well with the McGrews' attorney.

"This is a case of haves and have-nots," said Jackson.

As far as McGrew is concerned, he doesn't have that kind of money.

"It's just not feasible because it's just too much money out of pocket," said McGrew.

The McGrew's attorney told us he does plan to file an injunction as soon as he is able to in order to let the McGrews park in their front yard until the matter is decided for good. That could take up to a year.

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