I Can Park Here-I Can Park Here Not

Elina B. Gilbert | Thursday, January 24, 2013 | Community Associations Miscellaneous

An association in the Colorado Springs area passed a rule prohibiting owners from parking on public streets that run through the community (although guests may park in the streets).  The rule was adopted in reliance on the following covenant provision, “Boats, recreational vehicles, campers, motor homes, trailers and other such vehicles shall be kept in the garage . . .  and shall in no event be parked on the streets” [emphasis added].   Now an all-out community feud has begun over the enforceability of this rule.

At the crux of the battle is the question of what “other such vehicles” means.  Does the term encompass all vehicles, including owners’ cars, or does it only apply to boats, recreational vehicles, campers, motor homes, and trailers?  Even attorneys can’t agree on an answer!

One local HOA attorney provided an opinion that the term “other such vehicles” includes owners’ cars and therefore such cars may be banned from parking in the streets.  Other local HOA counsel disagreed and asserted the term only includes the listed vehicles, which means the covenants do not authorize the association to adopt this type of rule. 

Although a judge may ultimately need to decide on this issue, what do you think is the “right” answer?  As a general rule, boards are authorized to create resolutions and rules clarifying ambiguous provisions of the covenants.  For additional information on adoption and enforceability of rules, read our article entitled “The Components of a Good Rule.”  Is “other such vehicles” vague enough to allow the board discretion to interpret its meaning and adopt the current parking rule?  One might argue it is, since attorneys can’t even agree on its meaning.  Do you agree?

Comments

Having had issues with RV parking in many communities, all the HOA lawyers we talked to stated the HOA had no jurisdiction over pubilc streets, and therefore any covenants restricting use of the public streets were unenforceable. With community demands escalating, the City passed parking ordinances addressing the issue.

If there is guest parking ,cars should not be allowed to park on the street especially when it is a private road for the community and fire and police vehicles have to get through in an emergency. Also, there have been accidents when homeowners can not back out of their driveways because they are blocked.

Questions of vehicle classification are irrelevant when the basic issue is whether an HOA's CC&Rs can have ANY jurisdiction over activities not occurring on HOA property but on PUBLIC property - in this case, a municipal vehicular right-of-way adjacent to the deed-restricted properties. Any private covenant or subsequent rule attempting to regulate over public space is clearly unenforceable.

The phrase "other such vehicle" as used in context seems to have a fairly specific purpose. The author of the provision is clearly referencing a particular grouping of vehicular types separated from traditional transportation vehicles, but wanting to ensure the list wasn't too limiting. You don't see motorcycles or jet-ski's, but they would fit into the "other such vehicle" grouping much more readily than a person's Ford Focus. I would say the HOA is way out on a limb here. They shouldn't try being impractically dumb because of a very slight ambiguity in a governing provision.

I do not feel it meant to include cars per se; otherwise it would have listed personal automobiles or some such language. Sure, this gives the Board latitude in enforcement and interpretation but I think they're exposing themselves to a can of worms that will end up in court.

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