All John DeGlavina wanted to do was make a little money off his good location this week: His Ardmore home is right across the street from Merion Golf Club.
But then the Haverford Township code enforcer knocked on his front door Monday afternoon and spoiled the party before it even got started.
Parking spots on his front lawn that DeGlavina pre-sold through a website he set up weeks ago for U.S. Open workers and spectators turned out to be in violation of township Code 182-706: Section A4.
"According to this, no automobile may be parked or stored on any surface other than an improved parking space," DeGlavina said of the code, which apparently meant parking cars on his lawn for the week was out of compliance. In one of those quirks of local law, the township's code defines "improved parking space" as asphalt or concrete, DeGlavina said, adding that it apparently means all residents are required to have paved driveways.
The young father and husband who runs a small business out of his home on Darby Road in Ardmore, directly across the street from Merion's sixth hole, pre-sold seven or eight parking spots for $40 per day during practice rounds and $60 a day for the tournament days Thursday through Sunday through his website and a listing on Craigslist.
He had hoped that several drive-up spectators would boost that number each day — as five did the first day, bring the total to 13 cars Monday.
"I had posted my number on my window, so if anyone called, I’d run down and give them a pass," DeGlavina said. "About 2 p.m. ... I got a call from local number and it’s the code enforcer from the township. He says, 'You can’t have anyone parking on the grass.'"
DeGlavina said he had done his homework and didn't find any code online that prohibited the lawn parking, but the code enforcer told him he should have come to the town meetings.
"I was aware of the meetings but I thought I had all my ducks in a line," he said. "I sought out stuff online and couldn’t find anything."
The code enforcer allowed the cars Monday, but told him if there were any parked on his front lawn the rest of the week, he'd be fined $750.
"I'm disappointed and I understand it’s a law, but I feel like this is something put in place so people don’t put junk cars on their lawns and let them sit there," DeGlavina said. "This is only going to happen once in 30 years. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one [with the idea of selling parking on our lawns]. In fact, someone was doing it today. So I went down there and said, 'Here's a warning ahead of time."
The code enforcer told DeGlavina that five other residents received the same warning Monday.
A message left for Haverford Township's Building & Codes Department was not immediately returned Tuesday.
For the rest of the week, the eight spots pre-sold will be fit onto his half-circle driveway, leaving a tight squeeze.
"It's a bit of an inconvenience," DeGlavina said, of the thousands swarming in his neighborhood all week, and now also the local laws strictly enforced.