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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Historic Project Vehicle Towed from Private Property, No Title Yet

    My question involves a traffic citation from the state of: Arizona, City of Scottsdale

    Less than a month ago I purchased a 1971 Datsun 240Z from a friend, he is currently in Maine, and was going to visit AZ and help me apply for a bonded title this summer to make street legal.

    I had parked the vehicle in the corner of my complex, in a completely legal spot. In the past week, maintenance came around and repainted all the fire lanes on the curbs, and painted the curb next to my car red, although it was previously NOT a fire lane. I have a picture of the parking spot before and after it was painted into a so called "fire lane."

    Long story short, I was parked in a legitimate spot, somebody came around under my nose and painted the curbs red without informing me, and now my vehicle is gone.

    I have reported a stolen vehicle with Scottsdale PD, and have contacted to tow company. The tow company says the vehicle was towed for fire lane violation on a random patrol.

    According to Scottsdale Code and Ordinance:

    “503.2.8 Fire apparatus access roads. The chief may establish fire lanes on public
    and private property for access and setup for fire-fighting equipment apparatus and vehicles.
    All fire lanes shall be marked in the following manner:”6
    “1. Fire lane signs Design Procedures and Criteria per City of Scottsdale
    Standard Detail, and / or
    “2. Curb, street or driveway painted red to indicate fire lane and labeled
    “FIRE LANE NO PARKING” in white block letters 3 inches (76.2mm) in
    height, 3/4 in. (19.5 mm) stroke, on the vertical face of the curb to indicate
    fire lane.”`
    “3. Lettering shall not be greater than 50'-0" (15.24m) apart and shall be
    posted at the beginning and end of the fire lane.”

    With this information, the corner was not a fire lane, because it does not meet the criteria of 503.2.8 section 2, "painted red to indicate fire lane AND labeled
    “FIRE LANE NO PARKING” in white block letters." The corner where my car was does not have any letters written in it, declaring it a fire lane.

    My question or advice I see now is:

    Was this a legal tow on behalf of the tow company?
    My vehicle full of tools and personal belongings is now gone from my private property and I do not have the title to get it back. How can I prove that this was my vehicle on my property, and reclaim it?
    Can a police officer assist on reclaiming from the tow yard in some way if I have proof of residency? The Scottsdale PD has record of it being towed my my address/complex.

    Thank you all for the input. This is a very unfortunate situation, and do not want to lose this vehicle I have invested thousands of dollars in.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Historic Project Vehicle Towed from Private Property, No Title Yet

    You should investigate when the area in which you were parked was designated to be a fire lane. Was this a newly declared fire lane, only marked after you parked, or was the curb painting part of an effort to either mark or clarify the markings of a fire lane that was long designated as such.

    Also, what you regard as a "completely legal spot" may, in the eyes of another, be an obviously unreasonable parking job. I've seen people park in obviously inappropriate mannners, outside of marked parking areas, blocking driveways or impeding the passage of other traffic, but I'll bet that if towed most of them would argue, "It wasn't marked 'no parking'".

    If the only marking or indication of the fire lane was the red paint on the curb, such that the fire lanes do not satisfy the requirements of the Code of Ordinances, you can use that as a defense to any ticket you received for your parking. You can try to use that in small claims court against the towing company, presenting photographs and a copy of the ordinance to prove that it was not adequately marked. Small claims courts can be crazy places so, even accepting your version of events at face value and assuming you'll prove your claims in court, I can't make any promises as to how the judge might rule.

    I suggest getting title transferred from your friend, so that you can prove ownership, or checking to see if the towing company will release the vehicle to you based upon a power of attorney issued by the seller.

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