A family in East Hartford found themselves in a tight fix because of a little-known town ordinance.
"I think that anybody else in East Hartford that has a big truck and knew of the ordinance, they would want to fight it also," Andrea Laws said.
Laws and her husband, Yves, pay East Hartford a personal property tax for their Ford F-350. But now the town says they can't even park it overnight outside their home.
A zoning official showed up to their home recently and notified them of the ordinance, which prohibits some commercial vehicles from overnight parking in residential areas.
"I was so upset," Laws said. "I said, 'you got to be kidding me.'"
The ordinance targets any vehicle that has more than a three-quarter ton towing capacity, but it's so seldom-enforced that hardly anyone knows about it.
The town does not actively look for the vehicles.
"We react usually based on complaints of neighbors," said director of inspections and permits building official Greg Grew.
Grew said it is unclear how long the ordinance has been on the books. However, the ordinance was written as a quality of life matter and the town will issue cease and desist orders.
"We'll check maybe a couple of times, a few times, see if that's really the case. Talk to the individual owner of the property. Is this their vehicle? Why have they been bringing it home?" Grew said.
There's no financial penalty but the town can take a truck owner to court.
Laws and her husband received a warning and now Yves parks the truck in a lot about a half mile from their home.
"My husband works really hard and for him to have to park off-site and walk home is ridiculous. It's absurd," Laws said.
Rick Cormier said he and his father run a business that relies on heavy duty trucks and sometimes they park the vehicles overnight at their residence.
"If the city ordinance thinks that we can't keep our vehicle here, I don't know what we're going to do," Cormier said.
Cormier said he would like to see the wording of the ordinance amended. The town said zoning rules are always evolving.
"If they were to vote to amend the text, they could change that ordinance," Grew said. "Have it say whatever they feel is in the best interest of the town."
Laws and her husband appealed their order.