By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities Blog
Residents in Sun City Shadow Hills, a Del Webb community, are quite upset over a new traffic policy enacted by the homeowners association board. They have recently increased the fine for traffic violations from $50 to $200, without prior notice or warning. That has certainly caught owners by surprise.
The HOA board says that the number of traffic citations has decreased significantly since the increase of the fine.
The new policy is also controversial because now the HOA plans to hold homeowners responsible for traffic violations of their guests and vendors. According one TV report, more than 500 residents have signed a petition to return to the previous policy. The board has indicated it is not willing to change its mind.
I can understand the desire to curtail dangerous driving practices. After all, the HOA – and all of its members – are financially liable in the event of traffic injuries or fatalities that occur within the community. The board should have provided advance notice of the new, higher fines. They have agreed to communicate the new policy after the fact.
But I fail to see the logic and fairness in holding homeowners responsible for the behavior of their guests and vendors. Can you really control how fast the pizza delivery person drives to your house with your order? What about contractors such as house cleaners or landscape companies that serve multiple customers within the community? How will those traffic violations be billed?
So why can’t the HOA fine guest and vendors? Simple. Because the HOA employs private security guards to issue citations on private property, the no authority over non-residents.
The Association would have to contract with public police officers to write citations and tickets for all drivers, regardless of residency.