70-year old Carol Waddell has bad knees and a heart condition. Walking long distances is out of the question for her. With few places to park in her University Heights neighborhood, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
She hired a contractor to pave over the grass and install a concrete pad, allowing her to park her car just feet from her front door.
7 years later, the City of San Diego has a problem with it.
A code enforcement officer sent Waddell a citation. It said the cement covering the right of way between the sidewalk and the curb needs to be removed but first, she'll need to apply for and pay for a permit to destroy what wasn't supposed to be there in the first place.
Waddell is devastated. She claims the contractor she hired to pour the concrete told her he'd gotten a permit. She believed him and paid him $1,500.
She said she doesn't have the money to do the work the city is demanding.
"I don't know what I'm gonna do," Waddell told Team 10. She lives on social security payments of $389 a month. That doesn't leave any cash for construction projects.
“There has to be some leniency when you get taken," she said, but code enforcement is standing firm.
“We’re well-prepared to help her through that process and put her in contact with the right people," explained Mike Richmond, Deputy Director of the City of San Diego's Code Enforcement Division, "But I think the reason the citation came is that we couldn’t get any response from her for several months.”
Waddell says that's not true. The day after she received the citation she went downtown, hobbling all the way to the Code Enforcement office. The woman who issued the citation was away on vacation Waddell said she was told.
She is appealing the citation and the $500 fine for non-compliance, and she wants to warn other homeowners to do their due diligence when making changes to their homes.
“Be careful. ..Make sure they see the permit or get it themselves…so they don’t end up in the position I’m in now," she said.
To apply for or check to make sure a building permit is on file check the San Diego Development Department's webpage: https://www.sandiego.gov/development-services/opendsd
To verify a contractor's license: https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/CheckLicenseII/checklicense.aspx