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Law Grad Wins Case, Keeps on Truckin’

Posted Aug 31, 2007 9:40 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A would-be lawyer with a green pickup has succeeded in overturning a Florida city ordinance that barred him from parking overnight in residential areas.

Lowell Kuvin, who is waiting for bar exam results after graduating from Miami’s University of St. Thomas School of Law, won his case last week before a Florida appeals court, the New York Times reports.

Kuvin challenged a Coral Gables ordinance that prohibited trucks, trailers and commercial vehicles from being parked overnight on residential streets and driveways. The affluent city strives to preserve its high-class look with strict laws regarding the design and look of buildings there, requiring residents to get approval even for the shade of paint they use on their homes’ exteriors.

The appeals court said the city was singling out pickups with no good reason. As such, the law bore no rational relationship to the city’s goals of preserving aesthetics.

“Our nation and way of life are based on a treasured diversity, but Coral Gables punishes it,” the appeals court wrote in its opinion (PDF). “Perhaps Coral Gables can require that all its houses be made of ticky-tacky and that they all look just the same,” but it can’t extend its reach to personal vehicles and the people who own them, the court said.

“There is nothing to distinguish Kuvin’s truck or others like it from what some might think are even more aesthetically displeasing cars or, even more plainly, from one of whatever make or model which is in obvious disrepair or just plain dirty,” the court wrote.

The city plans to ask for an en banc rehearing.

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