By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
One of the biggest problems created by short-sighted planning in common interest communities is the scarcity of parking space.
For example, in Kings Lake subdivision, Hillsborough County, Florida, driveway space is limited and streets are somewhat narrow.
If your household uses the garage for storage, and the driveway only has room for one or two vehicles without blocking the sidewalk, what are you supposed to do with a third or fourth car?
You may think that it would be OK to park on the public street in front of your house, as long as there are no city or county restrictions.
But, if you live in Kings Lake, apparently, the HOA can ticket and even authorize the towing of any vehicles parked on public streets within the community.
And Hillsborough County police refuse to get involved, calling the dispute a “civil” matter.
That’s not really surprising given the County’s history with abusive towing practice, especially in Tampa. The towing bonanza got so bad that a class action lawsuit is underway.
Homeowners have elected a new board to do away with onerous parking restrictions, but the outgoing board is challenging that election, so the community is now at an impasse on the issue.
No wonder angry residents are taking to the streets to block towing operators from hauling away vehicles.
Ah, can’t you just feel the neighborly love?
Parking problem pits neighbor against neighbor in HOA battle
By Jeff Patterson, News Channel 8 On Your Side
Published: December 14, 2017, 5:34 pm
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – When you drive through the Kings Lake subdivision in southern Hillsborough County, you may notice nice homes, well-kept yard and cars parked at odd angles across driveways.
The strangely parked cars are the result of an ongoing battle between residents and the Homeowners Association.
“The community is saying that parking on county roads that we live on is illegal, that according to our bylaws that they have amended, that you are not allowed. That you are not allowed to park on the county street,” said LeRoy Vanek, who lives in Kings Lake.
Vanek contends his HOA has no right to enforce parking regulations on county streets.
Read more (video):
Can HOAs prohibit parking on public roads within their commuities?
The answer is about as clear as mud. It depends on who you ask.
According to this 2016 post by a Florida attorney, condo, homeowner and cooperative associations may not enforce parking restrictions or tow cars parked on public streets. (Source: W. Jeff Earnshaw, Esq.)
However, Florida attorneys tend to disagree on the authority of HOAs with regard parking restrictions on public streets, as illustrated by this online Avvo forum. Two attorneys say HOAs can prohibit parking on public roads, one says the HOA can have parking restrictions, but may not be able to enforce them on public streets.
Florida Statute 715.07 addresses rights of consumers when towing companies remove vehicles parked on private property. The law does not address parking on public property where residences are subject to deed restrictions or parking rules enacted by an association-governed community.
Yet another article posted at Hg.org cites case law in New Jersey and Maryland, cites case law, where it has been ruled that an HOA can enforce parking restrictions within the boundaries of the community, even on public streets.
So, if you live in an HOA, you might have very limited rights for parking any vehicles you happen to drive.
Once again, poor planning of a common interest community – and the maximization of housing density – has created a pervasive parking problem that defies peaceful resolution.
Clearly, people living in Kings Lake are not going to ditch their motor vehicles, regardless of parking difficulties.
This is an area ripe for consumer protection legislative reform, not to mention urban planning innovations that adress a chronic shortage of parking in planned communities.