Cluttered Garage Costs College Area Family Citation

A family in the College Area learned the hard way about a little-known law – and it’s now costing them $160 a month to resolve.

A neighbor reported the Tatum family to the city’s code enforcement for having a cluttered garage.

Say what?

According to San Diego’s municipal code Chapter 14, Article 2, Division 5, regulations require San Diegans to keep their garage open for parking two vehicles.

The family violated code by keeping too many storage items in their garage and were given a warning of a $500 penalty if they didn't declutter their space.

“We live an active lifestyle here in San Diego,” Susan Tatum said. “We’ve got boogie boards. We’ve got the full array of what families have: sporting equipment, fishing gear, tools.”

Tatum said she’s baffled by the ordinance.

“There’s probably hundreds of thousands, if not more, of people who use their garage for storage,” she said.

Apparently the Tatums aren’t the only rule breakers in the neighborhood.

A city spokesperson admits the cluttered garage violation is a fairly common occurrence, and while code compliance officers aren’t upping enforcement tactics, they do respond to complaints.

Now, the family must pay $160 a month for a storage locker to keep their odds and ends. But their garage is tidy and open.

Lesson learned, at a price.

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