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Long story short, I live in Anaheim, CA. I can't find any mention of laws regarding this, so here goes. My father has had a classic Camaro in our driveway since the 90s. It has been parked and rusting away. It is insured and registered as inoperable, since it doesn't run. I now have the means to fix it for him, so I've been working on it here and there in the driveway. The city came to my home and gave me a warning that I need to either finish and get it running, or they'll tow it away? If I just cover it up with a car cover will I be fine? Or, do I seriously need to get this thing running in 3 days? Are they even allowed to do something as extreme as take the car from us?

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    So it was sitting there for 30 years and now that you start restoring it the police comes and tells you to stop it!? Talk about stifling individual initiative! – Peter - Reinstate Monica Sep 10 '20 at 15:57
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    I also live in Orange County, and have been cited by the city (Fullerton) for plants that were invading the sidewalk. The citation told me how to communicate with the city to show I'd fixed the problem, so I did that, and everything was fine. I suggest you just communicate with them. – Ben Crowell Sep 10 '20 at 21:14
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica A car can sit, intact, in a driveway as long as you like. It's once you start disassembling it that it becomes a wreck. The law is to prevent people from leaving unsightly rotting vehicles dumped on their property. You know, broken windows and such. – J... Sep 11 '20 at 12:38
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    @J... The wording in the Code of Ordinances quoted in Ron Beyer's answer is "Abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative vehicles ...". I understand it was inoperative for most of the past decades. Of course, that's not obvious, which is why nobody complained until the OP dismantled it, for repairs. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Sep 11 '20 at 14:00
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    @Peter-ReinstateMonica The purpose of the law is clear - people don't want to see broken, falling-apart wrecks parked in their neighbourhoods. The inoperative part is just covering bases - people aren't going after inoperative cars, they're going after ugly messes. Being inoperative is simply there to make it easier to point at a wreck and have it clearly be guilty. If the vehicle looked like a working car parked in a driveway, obviously nobody is going to care. The entire intent of the law is to target eyesores. You're not allowed to leave piles of trash in your yard either, for example. – J... Sep 11 '20 at 14:22
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Yes, in Orange County, CA, in a residential zone or on residentially-developed property, this is a code violation. Specifically you are looking at Title 3, Division 13, Article 1, Sec 3-13-4(11):

Sec. 3-13-4. - Prohibited Conduct.

Except as provided in section 3-13-6, exemptions, it shall be unlawful for any responsible party having charge or possession of any real property in county territory to:
...
(11) Keep, store, or maintain upon any premises under his/her control any abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or inoperative vehicle, or part thereof, except as permitted by Table 3-13-6(c).

You may store/work on this vehicle from a building or location that is not visible from the street, but you cannot work on or store the vehicle on the street or driveway. You might also be able to erect a 6' tall opaque fence around the car, provided the fence meets standards.

The code making this illegal is a county ordinance for Orange County, CA, which is not applicable to other counties in California (other counties/cities may have their own ordinances). Codes which cover this sort of activity are generally made at the county or city level. They vary dramatically from location to location, and are often different based on the zoning of the property within the county or city.

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Pat W. Sep 10 '20 at 15:46
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    The important part seems to be Table 3-13-6(c), which spells out explicitly what is and isn't allowed. Specifically, inoperable vehicles in residential areas of Orange County can be stored in a garage, but not outside, even behind a fence. Working vehicles can be stored outside if they're in a driveway, or on a paved fenced-in area. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Sep 10 '20 at 16:41
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft - What about a marquee or a large tent? – Richard Sep 10 '20 at 21:05
  • @Richard Depends on whether that's inside or outside by law. – Mast Sep 11 '20 at 12:29
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    @Richard Possibly you'd get a problem about the marquee/tent instead. – Mast Sep 11 '20 at 12:39

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