'Curbstoning' becoming a problem in Houston area

Sharpstown residents are complaining about cars parked outside homes for strangers to buy

By Andy Cerota - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - The Sharpstown Civic Association has fielded at least a dozen complaints from neighbors about cars parked outside their homes and having strangers come by to look, test drive and even purchase them.

"We just don't want it in the neighborhood," said Jim Bigham, President of the Sharpstown Civic Association.

Bigham is battling used car dealers who he claims are unlawfully conducting business inside the neighborhood. The practice is called "curbstoning."

"It's essentially a car lot on a public street," Bigham said.

He tells Local 2 over 20 locations have been identified as having some level of activity. The association recently fired off a letter to property owners threatening legal action. Aside from the fact it's against city ordinance and violates deed restrictions, Bigham says this is about public safety.

"The bottom line for us is a stranger parking a car in front of your house is going to make you uneasy," Bigham said.

Houston police say curbstoning is so widespread in the community, they often get involved.

"I can think of a million places where they do it. They know we're out looking for them and they'll pick them up and move them every few hours," said Sgt. Matt Clark with the Houston Police Department's Auto Dealers Detail.

Since the association threatened to take legal action, many of the vehicles for sale are being parked backwards in the driveway so the paper tags are no longer visible.

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