By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities
It seems there’s an epidemic of homeowners and condo associations going overboard with enforcement of parking rules.
In addition to HOAs that ban parking on the street — even public streets — we are now seeing reports of HOAs that will even tow cars from residents’ own driveways.
Check out this video report of Joggers Run townhouse association in Greenacres, Florida.
Neighbors claim cars being towed from driveways in Greenacres
11:04 AM, Nov 19, 2018
2:35 PM, Nov 19, 2018
GREENACRES, Fla. — Neighbors in one Greenacres neighborhood claim they are having a very hard time to simply park their car around their own homes.
They say the problem lies with HOA parking rules that they believe are just too strict. Now, those neighbors have had enough.
Over the weekend, a petition was started at Joggers Run Townhomes off Jog Road.
Homeowner Sara Watts said the rules are so impractical that people’s cars started getting towed from their own driveways.
“This started about three or four months ago,” she said. “We’re not happy with it.”
Joggers Run’s list of parking rules
A Seabreeze Community Management Services newsletter, dated April 2018, lists parking rules for Joggers Run.
Among the strict rules:
“Vehicles without a decal or guest pass for overnight guests even if parked in the driveway (hand written notes may be used for late night guest only valid for one night)” are “subject to tow.”
“No street parking is permitted at any time within the Community.”
“Vehicles must not be stored on the property. All inoperable or unsightly vehicles (per Board of Directors discretion) must be removed from the property. Storage is considered 5 days or more. If you go on vacation notify Sea Breeze in writing.”
Read the full list of parking rules here. Scroll down to page 2.
Unreasonable parking rules
Of course, these unreasonable rules are bound to create plenty of business for the HOA’s towing contractor.
Let’s consider several real-life possibilities that Joggers Run HOA policies ignore.
Suppose you own two vehicles. You park one in the garage and one in the driveway. Where will your guests park?
Guests spaces are limited, and no one may park on the street. A visitor can only park in someone else’s driveway with your neighbor’s permission AND a guest pass from the HOA.
What if a family member or friend comes to visit you for more than one night? Must you request a new guest pass each day of their visit?
Or suppose you have a college student in your household, one who lives on campus, but doesn’t take his car with him. Does he have to sell his car, simply because the HOA won’t allow cars to be “stored on the property?”
Or will mom or dad have to make sure they remember to move his car at least once every five days, to avoid being towed?
Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned
Suppose you go on a two-week vacation, and you notify the HOA, but you have an unexpencted travel delay. It happens! If you arrive a day later, will you find that your car has been towed?
Or what happens if you suddenly become ill, or you’re injured in an accident. You wind up in the hospital, where you’re unable to contact your HOA for days. When you get out of the hospital, will your car be impounded by the towing company?
If you ever require home health care, where will the visiting nurse park? Will there be a problem with commercial van pick up and transportation to and from doctor visits?
As to this rule:
”Any vehicle that is not “street legal” including flat tire, expired tag, broken lights, windshields or no tag. etc.”
What if your car is vandalized? Suppose someone slashes your tires, or breaks your windshield. If you don’t discover the damage quickly enough to report it to the local police and your HOA, you might have to pay at least $150 to the towing company to get your damaged car back.
Where will you live if you need parking for more than 2 vehicles?
Looking at the bigger picture, if every condo and homeowners association continues this ridiculous trend of impractical parking restrictions, households on limited budgets may have to get rid of their “excess” cars in order to find a place to live.
What about families who really need three or four cars, so that each working youth and adult in the household can get to work or school?
Certainly, many people would prefer to own or rent a large, single family detached home with 4 or more spaces in the garage and driveway. But plenty of Americans cannot afford the kind of housing that would best suit their needs.
So why are we punishing people for the “crime” of having cars that need to be parked somewhere near their homes?
Parking problems created by developers
It’s been said that pictures tell the story.
So I’ve put together a gallery of Joggers Run photos, courtesy of Google Maps. Notice that the townhouse community has very few guest parking spaces, located at each bend of the road.
The middle of Joggers Run is a giant retention pond, and the community is closely bordered on all sides by other densely packed HOA-governed neighborhoods.
(Click on each image to enlarge.)
It’s hard to say where homeowners will find space for more off-street parking.
Photo Gallery for Joggers Run in Greenacres, FL
It’s obvious that the goal of the orginal developer was to pack in as many townhouses as possible.
From Day One, homeowner and residents in Joggers Run did not have enough space for parking. And the HOA board and its residents continue to deal with the headaches.
Perhpas in the future, local government planning officials should insist that home builders include adequate parking in their design. That probably means building fewer homes with wider streets and bigger driveways.
In the meantime, perhaps city or county leaders can help Joggers Run homeowners find some reasonable parking solutions.