Seattle man fighting city to save his sandbox

Seattle man fighting city to save his sandbox
SEATTLE -- A Seattle homeowner who was told to remove a sandbox from outside of his house took his case to City Hall Tuesday morning.

The city has threatened to fine Paulo Nunes-Ueno $500 every day until the box is removed, but he said the it's used by neighborhood kids and isn't hurting anyone.

Nunes-Ueno originally built the sandbox at the end of his driveway so his own two young kids could play in it, but he said it has since become a gathering spot for the entire street in his Wallingford neighborhood.

All was well until the city received an anonymous complaint that the box violates city rules about play structures being too close to the street.

"The fact that there's a sandbox there doesn't mean kids won't play there. Kids live here. This is their house and this is their neighborhood. They're going to play, play on the sidewalk. What, are we going to put a fence between the sidewalk and the planting strip? It doesn't make any sense," Nunes-Ueno said.

Neighbors actually say the sandbox is safe and a benefit to the community.

"It works on the street. There's enough people around that cars slow down because they see there's a presence," said neighbor Nancy Bird.

Nunes-Ueno said he wants the city to be more flexible with what homeowners can do, especially if it emphasizes being more neighborly.

"We really have an opportunity as a city to really knit our communities more tightly if we can just loosen up on these rules a little bit," he said.

He made his pitch Tuesday at a City Council Transportation Committee meeting. The committee is considering the plea, and in the meantime Nunes-Ueno doesn't have to pay the $500 a day fine.