For Immediate ReleasePress Contact: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, City Manager's Office, (510) 981-7008
CITY FILES SUIT AGAINST U-HAUL
Truck rental company lost use permit due to repeated violations, continues to rent trucks and park on neighborhood streets
Berkeley, California (Thursday, June 05, 2008) - After 10 years of complaints from neighbors and $22,000 in citations, U-Haul is operating its truck rental business at 2100 San Pablo Avenue illegally.
The City Council revoked U-Haul’s use permit to rent trucks and trailers last October, and saw that decision upheld by the Alameda County Superior Court in January. However, the rental business didn’t stop, and last week, the City asked the court to declare it a public nuisance and require the business to close.
A hearing in the matter will be held June 23 at 3 p.m. in Department 16 of Alameda County Superior Court at 1221 Oak Street, in Oakland.
“U-Haul has had ample opportunity to meet the conditions of its use permit, have those conditions changed, or at the very least, respond to the City’s and the neighbors’ concerns,” Acting City Attorney Zach Cowan said. “It has disregarded both the City and the Alameda County Superior Court by continuing to rent trucks and trailers, so we really have no choice but to have them declared a nuisance and shut down.”
Residents have complained to City officials as early as 1997, and those complaints have increased steadily since 2000. The City’s Code Enforcement officers have also documented and testified to U-Haul’s repeated violations. Both the City’s Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) and the City Council have held hearings to consider the matter. U-Haul representatives did not attend the ZAB hearing.
Complaints and code violations against U-Haul include the following:
- U-Haul is allowed to have 20 trucks on their property, and they repeatedly had more than 50;
- U-Haul is not allowed to park trucks on residential streets, but they frequently do so, making parking difficult for residents and International Food District customers;
- U-Haul has defined hours of operation, but they repeatedly left their gates open, increasing the amount of truck and car traffic late at night;
- Trucks parked by U-Haul customers and employees often block residents’ driveways for hours at a time;
- Trash and furniture are often unloaded from trucks and deposited on the residential streets;
- Neighbors have received verbal abuse from U-Haul employees.
In October, Council voted to revoke U-Haul’s use permit to rent trucks and the Alameda County Superior Court confirmed City Council’s decision. Under the City’s Zoning Ordinance, U-Haul is still allowed to sell packing materials, but not rent or receive trucks or trailers. U-Haul did not appeal that decision, but has continued to rent trucks from that location.