My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Washington
I live in the city of Seattle, and my question pertains to a parking violation I received for parking within 5 feet of a driveway. I was parked on the Northern side of a "No Parking South" sign. The sign is about 15 feet from the edge of a driveway turn, leaving only about 10 feet for legal parking. Myself and many of my neighbors have been parking in this spot on a regular basis for at least the last 3 years (since I've lived in this house), and have never seen or heard of a single issue form either parking enforcement or the residents of the house attached to the driveway. Last weekend, new tenants moved in to the house attached to this driveway, and they wanted to park their moving truck where my car was parked, so they called parking enforcement and insisted that my car be towed because it was within 5 feet of their driveway. I was parked so that my bumper was probably 2-3 feet from the driveway turn. While the driveway is far too narrow for a car to actually fit (these new neighbors confirmed to me that they have no intention of actually using the driveway), and I recognize now that I broke the law, these new neighbors are now regularly parking their car completely blocking their own driveway, and preventing anyone from using the public parking area to the south, between the "No Parking" sign and their driveway. They also are intending to discourage others from parking in front of their house by threatening to tow any cars parked there.
This is obviously an unfortunate situation, with new neighbors behaving in a way that I believe is unfair, selfish, and disrespectful. There are many driveways up and down the block (including in front of my own home), and I have never seen or considered having anyone towed for parking within 5 feet of a driveway. This neighborhood is densely populated, public parking is difficult to find for all residents, and it is common courtesy to not have neighbors towed for breaking the exact same parking laws that you plan to break with your own car.
Firstly, do I have any legal recourse for the parking citation that I received? Or is there any way to recoup the cost of towing? I know there are some laws related to selective enforcement, but it's unclear how they might apply to this situation. Ultimately, I'm a graduate student on a very limited budget, and the cost of this ordeal represents about 35% of my monthly income, after deducting the cost of rent, so I'm very motivated to do what I can to recover this cost!
Secondly, is it legal for my neighbor to park in the way they are currently parking? They seem to be using their "driveway" as a way to claim their own private space in a public parking zone. I spoke with parking enforcement on the phone, and they told me that they would enforce the law if I wanted to make a complaint. I'd rather not do this, because I believe it's spiteful and vindictive, and I don't want to escalate this dispute. When I explained this to my neighbors, they claimed that they had also spoken to a parking enforcement officer who told them that if they put a sign on their windshield stating that they were blocking their own driveway then they would not receive a citation or be towed. My understanding of the way the law is written is that NO PERSON, regardless of property ownership, is entitled to park blocking a driveway.
Seattle Municipal Code 11.72.110 - Driveway or alley entrance
"No person shall stand or park a vehicle in front of a public or private driveway within a street or alley or in front of or in an alley entrance or within five feet (5') of the end of a constructed driveway return or alley entrance return, or if none, within five feet (5') of the projection of the edge of the driveway or alley."