Common Questions

Parking in Sacramento City and County

We are often asked about parking restrictions in the City and County of Sacramento.  For example, “How many cars can a property owner park at their single family home in the City of Sacramento?”  And, “is there a maximum number of cars one can park on their property, operating and/or permanently parked, in their driveway in the County?”

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,” of the Sacramento City Code 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.

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.

In the County of Sacramento, there is no set number of operating or permanently parked vehicles you can have in your driveway in the Sacramento County Zoning Code. The County Zoning Code has recently been revised, and information regarding that revision is available at http://tinyurl.com/n2ydz8u. The revised code “contains many procedural changes in a user-friendly format with clear standards, illustrations and a simple land use entitlement process.”

According to the revised Sacramento County Zoning Code, storing unregistered or inoperable vehicles is not permitted, with a few exceptions.  It is unlawful to park or store, or permit others to park or store, automotive vehicles or trailers without current registration or in an inoperable condition on any lot in any residential, interim residential, interim estate, recreation, agricultural, interim agricultural, or agricultural-residential zone unless they are stored in a fully enclosed building (this does not apply to commercial or industrial zones).  Storage of up to two vehicles may be allowed outside of a fully enclosed building if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The parcel size is 10,000 square feet, or larger, for the first vehicle and that 5,000 additional square feet is provided for the second vehicle.
  2. Vehicles are the legal property of persons who reside in the on-site dwelling, as evidenced by a certificate of ownership issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
  3. Vehicles shall not be stored in the front yard or side street yard.
  4. Vehicles shall be stored behind a six (6) foot high solid wood fence and not be visible from any public street.
  5. For purposes of this Section, “unregistered vehicles” includes any vehicle that is considered non-operational pursuant to a current certificate of non-operation issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles of the State of California.

Section 3.9.3.P (Storage of Unregistered or Inoperable Private Vehicles) & 5.9.1.G (Parking of Inoperable or Unregistered Vehicles).

Like the Sacramento City Code, the Sacramento County Code considers abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles (defined in Sections 6.56.1106.56.140), or parts thereof, a public nuisance, and has established procedures to abate and remove them.  Section 6.56.010, Purposes.  If a property owner fails to pay, upon demand the cost of abatement incurred by the County, the costs may be especially assessed against the real property involved, and collected at the same time and in the same manner as County ad valorem property taxes.  Costs shall include, but not be limited to, charges for each vehicle cited under the ordinance, a towing fee for each vehicle towed, and a fee to cover the cost of hearing officer staff time involved in required hearings, inspection of vehicles and other property, publication, mailing and posting of notices, conducting hearings, processing appeals and pursuing any judicial action.  Section 6.56.320, Assessment of Cost Against Real Property.  In the case of any special assessment made pursuant to Section 6.56.320, a Notice of Abatement Lien will be recorded in the Office of the County Recorder.  The Notice shall identify the property owner, or possessor of the property, his or her last known address of record, the date upon which abatement was ordered by the Hearing Officer, the date that the abatement was completed, a description of the real property subject to the lien, and the amount of the abatement costs.  Section 6.56.330, Assessment of Cost Against Real Property—Recordation of Abatement Lien.  The Lien may be released or subordinated in the same manner as provided by law for release or subordination of a judgment lien on real property.  Section 6.56.340, Assessment of Cost Against Real Property—Release of Abatement Lien.

Parking regulations may also be found in Title 10 of the Sacramento County Code.  Section 10.24.010 governs signs and curb markings.  Section 10.24.030 addresses No Parking zones.  Section 10.24.040 discusses parking on narrow streets and at special places.  Section 10.24.050 governs emergency parking signs.  Section 10.24.060 addresses parking in alleys and parkways.  Section 10.24.070 discusses when parking is prohibited.  Section 10.24.080 governs parking on one-way streets.  Section 10.24.090 addresses parking in loading zones.  Section 10.24.100 discusses limited time parking.  Section 10.24.110 governs continuing violations and additional offenses.  Section 10.24.120 addresses curb parking and right-of-way.  Section 10.24.130 discusses parking in intersections.  Section 10.24.140 governs angle parking.  Section 10.24.150 addresses the removal of illegally parked vehicles.  Section 10.24.160 discusses the removal of ignition key when parking.  Section 10.24.170 governs parking on County property.  Section 10.24.175 addresses parking in County parking areas.  Section 10.24.180 discusses parking on private property.

Section 12.12.010 governs obstructions at public street intersections and intersection elbows.  Section 12.12.020 addresses obstructions at private driveways and public streets.  Section 12.12.030 discusses exceptions to sections 12.12.010 and 12.12.020 (car for sale parked on non-residential property is an exception).  Section 12.12.035 governs obstructions at sidewalks, pedestrian pathways and public road rights-of-way.  Section 12.12.045 addresses abatement proceedings contrary to the provisions of Title 12, Streets and Sidewalks, chapter 12, obstruction of corners, streets and sidewalks:  sign, hedge, structure, natural growth, fence, or other obstruction to the view, which are unlawful and a public nuisance.  Section 12.12.050 discusses penalties and the cost of enforcement.  Section 12.12.060 sets forth the scope of Title 12, Streets and Sidewalks, chapter 12, obstruction of corners, streets and sidewalks:  sign, hedge, structure, natural growth, fence, or other obstruction to the view.

For more information on parking in the County of Sacramento, see Sacramento Transportation Authority, http://www.sacta.org/p_savsa_procedures.html (list of information regarding abandoned vehicles in various Sacramento County cities); Sacramento County, Code Enforcement, http://www.code-enforcement.saccounty.net/Programs/Pages/Parking.aspx (Parking); and Sacramento County, Department of Transportation http://www.sacdot.com/Pages/ParkingZoneSigns.aspx (Parking zones and signs; “Where is it illegal to park?”). 

kb 5/17