A few weeks ago a woman called the Tip List to complain about an abandoned car left in the parking lot of the Chanana Plaza on V Street.
The woman said she couldn't understand why it's OK for a business owner to just leave his car in the parking lot taking up space so that other people can't park in the lot.
I decided to see for myself if the parked car was actually creating a problem for patrons of Mel's Liquor and some of the other establishments.
Inside the nearly empty parking lot sat a weathered black Honda Accord. There was no indication that parking lot would ever fill up.
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I spoke with Gurpander Singh, an employee of Mel's Liquor, and he said the car has been parked there for months and hasn't created any problems for the customers.
He said the car belongs to the landlords of the property, Shams and Menu Chanana.
Singh said he thought the owners were planning to sell the car, but haven't gotten around to it.
While the issue presented by the caller didn't seem all that important, it did make me think about the rights landlords have when it comes to retail spaces.
I called Mike Conway, spokesman for the city of Merced, and he answered my question with a question.
"Would it be OK if I had a car parked for months on my property?" he said. "If it's on private property and it's not derelict, then it's the same as having it in front of their home."
Unless the car is blighted, then the property owners can do what they want with their land, he said.
What's wrong: The owner of the Chanana Shopping Center on V Street has left his car parked in the parking lot of the center for months.
What's being done: The property owners have a right to leave their car parked on their property.
If you see something broken or in need of repair in your neighborhood, call the Sun-Star Tip List reporter, Jamie Oppenheim, with your tips at (209) 385-2407 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.