Bringing Neighbors Together

Parking Issue Results in Letter

At least one Glenbrooke homeowner has received a violation letter from Riverside Management stating parking on the street is not  allowed by the Glenbrooke Community Association (GCA).  The only problem is the streets are PUBLIC streets and are not owned nor maintained by GCA.

The following  press release from Elk Grove Police Department was originally posted on August 11, 2010 on GlenbrookeNews.   It was requested we post it again and add the  recent lawsuit case in Elk Grove regarding a local HOA over parking issues.

Press Release August 11, 2010

Questions regarding enforcement of parking regulations on private versus public roadways occasionally arise in cases where Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CCRs) or Home Owner Association (HOA) regulations address issues of roadways and parking. The key to understanding vehicle operation and parking restrictions on a roadway is knowing whether the roadway involved is private or public.

Public roadways are those owned and maintained by a governmental entity. Only the state or local jurisdiction involved has authority over operation and parking of vehicles on public roadways.

Enforcement of these laws and regulations is also governed by laws, ordinances, and codes and limited to public officers empowered for such enforcement.

Private roadways are those owned and maintained by someone other than the City of Elk Grove or other governmental agency. Prime examples of private roadways are those streets that serve gated private housing developments. Private roadways are subject to the rules and restrictions imposed by the “owner” of that property. In many cases, the “owner” of a private street is the HOA. Some public offenses (DUI and fire zone restrictions, for example) continue to be public offenses even on private property and are enforceable by public officials and adjudicated according to the laws and ordinances of the jurisdiction involved.

When dealing with the parking of vehicles, there may be some overlap between public and private enforcement. Consistent with the governing documents of the association, the HOA may establish speed limits, post regulatory signs, establish parking restrictions (such as limiting parking to tenants or guests), issue parking permits, restrict parking, or otherwise regulate vehicles and traffic on the non-public portion of the property.

For example, the governing documents may require that all vehicles be parked in the garage. If a vehicle otherwise conforms to the law for parking in the area and thus would not be subject to enforcement by the City, the HOA may still pursue its private remedies for the violation of the CCRs. HOAs use a variety of mechanisms to enforce the rules and regulations they promulgate regarding the use of the private property. Disputes between HOAs and individual members of the communities they represent are civil matters. City employees, including police officers, will not enforce CCRs and associated regulations dictating or restricting actions on private property.

http://www.elkgrovecity.org/public-info/printables/hoa-parking-enforcement.pd

From Elk Grove Citizen August 10, 2010

Resident sues HOA over proposed parking rules; board backs down by  Cody Kitaura - Citizen Staff Writer

resident two weeks ago sued a local homeowners association after its board of directors proposed several changes to the neighborhood’s parking rules. The board retreated a day later.

George Vilahu lives in Elk Grove’s Stonelake Community, located near Interstate 5 and Elk Grove Boulevard.

Earlier this year, the community’s board of directors proposed new rules that would require every resident to register his or her car with the homeowners association, as well as limit driveway and street parking to only those who have more cars than they can fit in their garages, even though the streets in Stonelake are public property.

Vilahu filed a suit on July 28 in Sacramento County Superior Court alleging the board held non-public meetings, took action on items without noticing the public, ignored a petition against the proposed changes and didn’t properly explain the changes to the public.

“The purposes and effects of the myriad rule changes have not been explained to members, and members have been confused and ill-informed as a result,” court documents filed by Vilahu state.

According to the Stonelake Community’s Web site, the board of directors called an emergency telephone meeting a day after the lawsuit was filed, and voted to not adopt the proposed changes to the parking rules.

Documents posted on the community’s Web site say that three of the five directors were included in the call, and that the public was provided “telephonic access.”

The posting said the board would meet at 6 p.m. on Aug. 12 in the Elk Grove City Council Chambers to “continue the discussion on parking issues along with the other rules.”

None of the five board members returned repeated phone calls and e-mails from the Citizen.

Vilahu declined to comment after the lawsuit had been filed, but in an earlier interview he took issue with the proposed requirement to register vehicles with the homeowners association.

“My main thing is, it’s nobody’s business whose car is in my garage,” Vilahu said. “I pay the mortgage – they don’t pay the mortgage. If I want to have my friend’s car in my garage all year long that’s my business.”

Vilahu said he has lived in Stonelake since 2001, and said the board should be focused on other issues, like yards overrun with weeds.

“They’re trying to make this like a (Thomas) Kinkade postcard neighborhood,” he said. “There’s a lot of other stuff they can be concentrating on.”

Shirley Ng, a Stonelake resident since 2004, said the board has a history of focusing on “petty” issues. She said there’s no need for additional rules regulating parking.

“I don’t think we have a parking problem,” Ng said in an interview before the July 28 lawsuit had been filed. “The streets are never crowded.”

To read court documents filed by Vilahu and minutes from the Stonelake Community board of directors’ emergency meeting, visit www.egcitizen.com.


18 Responses »

  1. So the parking rules that apply are the city of Elk Grove's.

    Ordinance §10.24.075 says:

    Parking of motor homes, trailer coaches, recreational trailers, truck campers, camping trailers or boat trailers designed for personal are allowed to park for up to 72 hours in a residential district.

    Any person violating any of the provisions of the ordinance is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $300.00, or by imprisonment for not more than three months, or by both.

    and from the city of Elk Grove's website (http://www.elkgrovepd.org/more/faq-parking-related.asp#q05):

    My neighbor parks his car on the street and never moves it. Who do I call?

    Contact the Traffic Bureau at (916) 478-8140. The law says a vehicle may be parked on a public street for not more that 72 consecutive hours in the same location. After 72 hours, the vehicle must be re-parked at least 300 feet away from the original spot. If a vehicle is left on the street over 72 hours without movement, it is considered abandoned. Upon receiving a complaint, the officer may affix a warning sticker on the vehicle and then re-check it at a later date. The warning sticker is provided as a courtesy, but if the officer has reason to believe to the vehicle has been parked at the same location (or within the 300 feet) over 72 hours without movement, he or she may tow the vehicle without notice. It is better to park vehicles in garages or driveways since everyone has to share the street.

  2. Riverside Mgmt should be sending letters to the landscape contractors instead of residents that are legally parked in front of their homes. It is my understanding the resident only has their car there during the day which makes sense as it is very hard to get in and out of your car when parked in these driveways.

    If Riverside Mgmt doesn't watch it we are going to have a lawsuit filed against our HOA and then it only cost us residents if they prevail and we have to pay for it. Knowing the law and common sense is the best remedy.

  3. My number one concern would be that every homeowner parking in the street was sent this letter. It seems this would be something needing close monitoring and maybe it was.......not a neighbor sending in a "concern" form. Maybe a personal visit to find out their reasons for parking in the street. Maybe they just need some help or suggestions in cleaning out the garage. Letters are cold...read one of those garbage can letters - overkill! Common sense always prevails!

  4. We bought in Glenbrooke having read all of the CCR's before signing on the dotted line. I so appreciate the standard that gives us this beautiful community without fear of broken down cars and abandon vehicles.

    Most homeowners park in their driveway or garage (it is closer to the house after all).

    That being said, there is room for common sense . The person that received the letter, told me she parks on the street when she is going in and out during the day time and moves the car in at night.

    With some of these steep driveways, it is hard to get in and out in the driveway without getting your leg cut off from the door closing on it and even more difficult to help someone else in and out. Maybe Del Webb/Pulte will address the grade of the driveways in the next phases.

    I agree with Vickie, Riverside should be looking for all the problems with the landscaping and reporting that to their vendor. That was the number one concern of residents at the communication meeting.

  5. Gotta be more to this story than what I'm reading. How many trips per day...why not leave and enter from the garage, we do, sometimes 3-4 times a day.....are they taking all the parking in front of two houses.......fussy neighbor and much more. Parking spaces in front of our homes are very limited and in imaging some one parked in front of our home every day would be annoying...I'm speaking of the space that covers two homes as most do. Unless you park carefully you can be taking up some of your neighbors space too.

    That being said, hopefully there is an easy solution and common sense prevails.

  6. See CC&R's Section 8.09(a) and (b). No surprises here - it's been there since 2006, when these things were drafted and recorded. These sections concede that streets within Glenbrooke are public streets, and then go on to describe the mutual covenant we all make with each other as residents here in restricting parking on our public streets. Nothing sinister or illegal about this.

    Let's compare this public street parking restriction to our private space and our back yards. We all know that there are numerous restrictions on how we may landscape and decorate these two areas of private property. Yet, we voluntarily agree to these restrictions on our private property when we purchase a lot here. That's exactly how covenants work, folks. One may voluntarily restrict or relinquish his or her absolute rights in order to promote a community benefit.

    The righteous indignation I sense in some comments make me think that the concept of voluntary restrictions has not been fully considered. Remember, a mutual benefit association (which is what we are) fosters mutual benefits by mutual consent to certain community-wide standards and usages. It's as simple as that.

    Are there alternatives? Certainly - live somewhere where such restrictions do not exist.

  7. This is great discussion; I hope it encourages homeowners to talk about it around the dinner table.

    Thanks for your input Peter, as a member of the design review committee I know you are well read on the CCR's and I respect your opinion. However, I have a different take.

    Just because it is in the CCR's does not make it legal. There are many court cases that found some provisions in some HOA's or CC&R's were not enforceable. Just as cities and counties cannot make laws that overturn the state and federal laws, HOA’s cannot enforce CC&R's that violate existing laws or take away our civil rights.

    For example, there was a provision about flying flags in our CC&R's. The HOA cannot forbid you from flying the flag. If I remember right, there is also a rule about NO posting signs in front yard. Again that is not enforceable, the HOA cannot take away my civil right to support a political candidate or my freedom of speech.

    Most of us park in the driveway and garage but if someone does need to park on the street for the day, the HOA cannot ticket or cite the person, they do not have that authority - only the police do. (Years ago I was ticketed by city police and the judge dismissed it, as the police did not have jurisdiction in the area. The judge went on at length about making sure there is proper authority or it gets thrown out of court).

    I agree we all decided to move here and live by the guidelines for the common good of the community. I love it here and I appreciate the guidelines. However, I draw the line at giving up my legal rights or having my civil rights violated by the HOA - or anyone else - that is never for the common good.

    In this case the person said they left each morning for the gym at 6:00 AM and parked on the street upon returning. They said they never parked overnight on the street. There was no illegal parking. . I like the GUIDELINES of not parking on the street and putting cars in the garage. But the HOA cannot enforce parking restrictions on public streets. If a car were not moved for 72 hours I would be the first to call the police and ask that it be tagged.

    So it seems to me, as we take over the HOA, we need to make sure all of our CCR's and Policies are: 1) legal and 2) enforceable.

    Just my opinion, but I don't think our small, close-knit community needs strong-arm tactics that aren't enforceable. These issues need to be discussed when governing documents are amended. Care can and should be given to ensure the rules written are reasonable and enforceable.

  8. AMEN Darcie!

    That being said, I do firmly believe you should park in your driveway or garage. If for no other reason, but as a courtesy to your neighbors. Our guest parking is very limited and you may have just used mine. BTW, what's the penalty for disobedience......"30 days in the electric chair"? Must be in some other section. I saw nothing but "may"...."shall", hardly enforceable in a court of law.

    Could maybe a flyer with the Gazette have served the same purpose and without all the hoopla?
    Why use extreme measures first? And if you do, be sure you can back them up if the need should arise.

    How about posting a copy of the letter (letters) sent....omitting the name of course. It's from our Mgmt. Co. and we have a right to know what it says.

  9. This is a timely topic for discussion as we have just reviewed the differences between having a gated private community versus an open public street community. Since one of the basic considerations for having rules in our CC&R's or bylaws is that they are enforceable we should review (and maybe adjust) our "rules". This can be a discussion at the next Communications Committee meeting or brought up at the Board meeting next week. Thank you for all of the research and suggestions in the prior posts.

    • wow, already better communication. It helps just to know that someone is looking at the issues and communicates that to the residents! Thanks Sebastian.

  10. Good idea Sebastian. Could you also check who is paying Pam's son to walk the neighborhood looking for violations and if Riverside Mgmt is paid for sending letters. It would sure be nice if the violations were reviewed by the CCR Committee or Board before nit pickty letters are sent and alot of times just talking with the resident would resolve the issues versus offending letters.

    We are still waiting since April of 2009 for a letter stating they made a mistake sending our letter saying we did not get our security door approved and in fact they cashed our $50 check and our yard and door were approved April of 2008. Greg Van Dam said in July of 2009 he would take care of it but when it comes to apologizing for their mistake you don't hear from them.

    It is my understanding we have just had a third resident leave the community because of a HOA controversy, I don't know a single person here in Glenbrooke that really isn't enjoying themselves here but then we all have to get cranky once and awhile.

    As to the gated community vs public streets we use to live in a Community Service District which was responsibile for the streets and it is very very expensive to do the upkeep on private roads. This would definately increase our dues if we were to consider taking over the streets. Our parks belong to the City of Elk Grove and I don't think they would be agreeable to closing access to the Rose Garden, Promenade or the future Story Book Park,

    • Vickie, Riverside Management checks for violations every other Tuesday. Pam's son does most of these checks. We contract with Riverside for a fixed rate per lot which includes these inspections. If they are being nit picky it is because the CC&R's and bylaws are written that way and they are paid to help enforce them. It may be time to revisit some of the "rules" to make sure that they are reasonable and enforceable.
      Also, we cannot become a gated community and must comply with the issues of city rules and regulations and public assess.

  11. On further research I have found that the CC&R's are a binding contract that we have all signed. The rules in the contract can be more restrictive than the county/city rules but not more lenient. Here is a quote:

    "..the association has often been advised that the CC&Rs are a contract between the individual homeowners and the Association. Each homeowner, when they make settlement on their home, signs that contract and by doing so, agrees to abide by it. While the Association cannot permit things expressly forbidden by city codes, it can restrict things allowable under city codes. It is this contract that permits us to have more restrictive rules in certain areas than are allowed by city ordinances. One such example is the restriction on parking vehicles on community streets."

    This implies that the parking rules in our contract can be enforced by our management company.

    • First, thanks so much Sebastian for being accessible to the community and willing to participate in discussions that will help us with better understanding. Thanks too for making the motion to alternate Board meetings between afternoon and evenings – again allowing more accessibility to homeowners. Your efforts on our behalf are appreciated.

      To add some context to this discussion:
      It seems that this issue will be taken care of with the review of the governing documents.

      The discussion at the GCA Board meeting was in explaining why it was necessary to pay to have the governing documents reviewed periodically.

      One reason for the review was to make sure we are in compliance with the ever-changing laws, Mr. Van Dam stated. Then he added, "I always think of Satellite dishes and this time of year political signs as examples.” At that point, you added “and parking issues.”

      Which is a good example. As even if the current provisions are enforceable, when there is this much confusion and different interpretation, is wise to review and re-write to be understandable and clear.

      One question, could you tell us the source of this information?
      ".the association has often been advised that the CC&Rs are a contract between the individual homeowners and the Association. Each homeowner, when they make settlement on their home, signs that contract and by doing so, agrees to abide by it. While the Association cannot permit things expressly forbidden by city codes, it can restrict things allowable under city codes. It is this contract that permits us to have more restrictive rules in certain areas than are allowed by city ordinances. One such example is the restriction on parking vehicles on community streets."

  12. Here is one of my references from another HOA. I googled the question and many examples came up.http://www.oakwoodlakes.net/ccr%20faq.htm#Q7
    I thought that we were out of compliance since the city rules are stricter, but now I am finding out that our agreement of the CC&R is a binding contract that overrules the city enforcement. We can enforce our rules but do we want to is the question?
    There are other parking issues with the short driveways and trucks extending onto the sidewalk. Maybe we could add this to the Communications Committee meeting on December 1st.

  13. Oak Wood Lakes is in AZ.........right?

  14. I don't think I would necessarily believe another HOA or mangement company (there have been lots of rulings against both). I would be looking for case law for the definitive answer.

    But again, it doesn't really matter as long as the rules are 1) Legal 2) clearly defined and 3) enforceable. If any one of those things are missing it seems it puts us at risk.

  15. Very interesting discussion. One other thing I thought of, who makes the decision to send the letters. Does the Mgmt. Co. need direction from the BOD's first? I am still concerned about the process used in every resident that parks in the street being sent the letter. Obviously not all were sent letters or we have some defiant ones or there was a time frame to correct????? I guess to find out what the letter said I'm going to have to park in the street. :-)

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