Street Parking Struggles
Posted on May 20, 2020 3:00 PM by Michael LaPoint
Almost daily we hear from frustrated residents regarding the way their Community Association handles on-street parking. Complaints include, but are not necessarily limited to, roads being too narrow to accommodate on-street parking, neighbors failing to utilize their garages and driveways for parking, parking too many vehicles on the street, and parking in front of neighboring homes. On the other side of the argument, we also hear from plenty of residents who are unhappy with the fact that their Community Association prohibits on-street parking. This topic has become a hot-button issue again recently, because of COVID-19 and Arizona's Stay-At-Home orders. With many people working from home, people staying in during the weekends, etc., parking frustrations have been escalating. We suspect those frustrations will begin to subside with everything reopening and people returning to work. This topic does warrant further discussion, though.
Before we dive deeper into on-street parking, please understand that restricting on-street parking, with all of the nuances that arise during enforcement, the statutes that govern it, and the passion people have about the topic, should include your Community Association's legal counsel. Remember, seeking and adhering to the advice of professionals such as legal counsel provides the Board safe harbor
in the event of legal action. We would recommend having your legal counsel confirm, in writing, your Community Association's ability, authority, and, if applicable, obligation to restrict on-street parking. Further, you should have legal counsel review any Resolutions or Policies you adopt to clarify and enforce on-street parking restrictions.
ABILITY / AUTHORITY / OBLIGATION
Whether or not a Community Association can and/or has an obligation to restrict on-street parking depends on Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) and the community's Declaration (CC&Rs).
- Private Roads - Community Associations with private roads (roads owned and maintained by the Association) have the ability, the authority, and often an obligation to regulate those roads and restrict on-street parking, with some exceptions for emergency responders, which we discuss further down in this article. Still, however, any such restrictions/regulations need to be included in the Declaration or properly adopted through Board Resolution. How do you know if your community has private roads? Living in a gated community is an obvious sign that the roads in your community are private and are maintained by the Community Association. There are, however, instances where private roads exist in non-gated communities. Community Plat Maps and the Declaration are the best resources in determining whether your community's roadways are private or public.
- Public Roads - A.R.S. § 33-1818 states that an association has no authority over and shall not regulate any public roadway (roadway dedicated to or otherwise held by a governmental entity). This applies only to communities for which the Declaration was recorded after December 31, 2014. Communities with a Declaration recorded before this date may have the ability, authority, and even an obligation to restrict on-street parking or otherwise regulate public roadways if, and only if:
- Such restrictions/regulations are included in the Declaration.
- The authority to create restrictions/regulations governing the public roadways is included in the Declaration.
Now that we understand how to determine if your Community Association can and/or has an obligation to restrict on-street parking, we need to better understand how to enforce such restrictions. The Declarations for many Community Associations prohibit on-street parking. Enforcement of such parking restrictions is difficult at best. We recommend that Boards adopt a formal Board Resolution clarifying on-street parking restrictions and detailing reasonable and consistent enforcement standards. Some things to consider include, but are not necessarily limited to
- Enforcement Hours/Manner of Enforcement
- Do you have a security company that patrols for parking violations? What is the frequency of those patrols (weekly, multiple times per week, etc.)? When do those patrols occur (only overnight and on weekends)?
- Does your Community Manager cite daytime infractions during their regularly scheduled compliance inspections?
- What is the process for neighbors reporting parking infractions?
- What parking infractions should be reported to the Association versus the appropriate local governmental agency?
- Vehicle Identification
- Do you require homeowners and tenants to register their vehicles?
- How do you handle guest vehicles?
- Are there exceptions for vehicles belonging to contractors working at a home?
- Do you allow exceptions for the occasional party/gathering and what is the process for a resident to be granted an exception?
- Emergency Responders - Regardless of what restrictions/regulations you have in place, A.R.S. § 33-1809 does not permit Community Associations to prohibit certain emergency responder vehicles from parking on the street if such vehicles are required to be available at designated periods at the person's residence as a condition of employment and either of the following applies:
- The resident is employed by a public service corporation regulated by the corporation commission, an entity regulated by the federal energy regulatory commission, or a municipal utility and is required to prepare for emergency deployment for repair or maintenance of natural gas, electrical, telecommunications, or water infrastructure. Weight and marking restrictions/requirements exist as well.
- The resident is employed by a public safety agency, including police, fire, or ambulance service providers. Weight and marking restrictions/requirements exist as well.
At the end of the day, restricting on-street parking is not as easy as it may seem on the surface. Regardless of an Association's ability, authority, or obligation to restrict on-street parking, we always encourage residents to utilize their garages and driveways for parking before considering on-street parking, even if it means shuffling vehicles around. When on-street parking is necessary (if acceptable in your community), please be considerate of your neighbors and contain on-street parking to the area immediately adjacent to your home. If your neighbor's on-street parking is a problem for you, but is acceptable in your community, we encourage neighborly communication to try and find an amicable solution.
Please contact us if you would like to further discuss on-street parking and the way your community is handling this issue. Next week, we will discuss RVs, trailers, boats, and similar recreation vehicles and accessories.