Gateway Sun

People send me all kinds of things about the individuals holding prominent positions in Gateway.

And that includes messages I receive about Gateway’s lawyer, Anthony Pires Jr.

For example, here’s a sentence from an email that I received yesterday from a former candidate for Gateway Services District Supervisor: “Shouldn’t Mr. Tony Pires liability insurance be paying for these lake bank repairs instead of the GSCDD property owners??”

My answer to that specific question would be: Probably not.

But let’s move on.

Like anybody else, Pires makes mistakes from time to time. (Florida Attorney General Opinion 90-56, anyone?)

And like any lawyer, Pires dances around with words from time to time, too. He’s well-paid to do just that.

Unfortunately for Pires, this time it looks like he was talked in to doing it by Stoneybrook HOA candidate Margaret Fineberg on the topic of that community’s hot-button issue: street parking.

Fineberg prefers the look of completely empty streets in Stoneybrook.

Stoneybrook residents? Not so much. They want their friends and family to be able to visit them and, you know, park outside their homes like people do in 99% of the other communities in the United States.

But Fineberg doesn’t care what the other residents think. She only cares about what she thinks.

So she apparently conscripted Pires to write a memo that portrayed an official position that the HOA’s street parking ban was legal. Fineberg would later arrange to have that memo published in Stoneybrook’s newsletter, The Scoop.

If you look at the memo it’s To: Margaret … From: Tony …

Those are the only two parties to the email.

So how else could it end up in The Scoop if not for Fineberg? Agreed?

But the memo itself is hot garbage.

One police officer pointed out to me that the Florida statute that Pires quoted to prove his point is a law that applies to human beings protesting in the streets and blocking traffic. It does not apply to vehicles parked on the side of the road, according to the officer.

In case you didn’t see it, this is the law that Pires attempted to use to help Fineberg and was published in The Scoop:

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It is unlawful for any person or persons willfully to obstruct the free, convenient, and normal use of any public street, highway, or road by impeding, hindering, stifling, retarding, or restraining traffic or passage thereon, by standing or approaching motor vehicles thereon, or by endangering the safe movement of vehicles or pedestrians traveling thereon; and any person or persons who violate the provisions of this subsection, upon conviction, shall be cited for a pedestrian violation, punishable as provided in chapter 318.

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I’m not a lawyer or police officer, but I can read. That law does look like it’s aimed at people and not at cars.

So Pires used the wrong law.

But what interests me most is the word-craft in section “2.” of this February 13, 2017 memo about street parking from Pires:

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Therefore it is my opinion, based upon the foregoing, until and unless legislatively, judicially or administratively determined to the contract, that:

1. The parking of motor vehicles on a District road within SBG, due to the roadway widths, that obstructs, blocks, impedes, hinders, etc., the ability of other motor vehicles to “normal” use of the road, is improper and unlawful.
2. As to the District roads within SBG, the Stoneybrook at Gateway Master Association, Inc. has no right or authority to permit or allow the parking of motor vehicles on a District road within SBG, that due to the roadway widths, would result in a person “willfully” obstructing the “free, convenient, and normal use” of such a road as defined in Section 316.2045(1), F.S., that would result in impeding, hindering, stifling, retarding, or restraining traffic or passage thereon.

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Okay.

For clarity, the “District” means the GSCDD.

And all of Stoneybrook’s roads are owned by the District, not by the Stoneybrook HOA. We have concrete proof of that and to be fair, nobody is disputing that fact.

Please notice how Pires writes that the HOA has “no right or authority to permit or allow the parking of motor vehicles on a District road” – and he’s totally correct.

But while Pires writes that the HOA does not have the authority, Pires totally left out the fact the HOA also has no right to prevent … issue fines … or restrict … the parking of motor vehicles on a District road, either.

However, as a result of the way Pires deliberately worded his memo … most people would believe that the street parking ban is the HOA’s right to implement. And this is the exact narrative Fineberg wanted to have published in order try to trick you in to believing street parking wasn’t allowed in Stoneybrook.

The truth is that the HOA can’t prevent you from street parking, because they’re publicly owned roads.

Don’t take my word for it.

Take the word of one Mr. Tony Pires in his August 2, 2010 memo, also to Fineberg:

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All of the foregoing is clear and unequivocal proof that the developer intended to dedicate the listed roads to the District for public use and the District accepted the dedications.

Therefore until and unless judicially determined to the contrary, based upon the foregoing and the principles of Florida law dealing with dedications to governmental bodies, it is my opinion that the listed roadways within Stoneybrook at Gateway, together with that segment of Gateway Boulevard platted as Tract A-1 of Stoneybrook at Gateway Unit 1 plat, are owed by the Gateway Services Community Development District.

Sincerely,

Anthony P. Pires, Jr.

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The bottom line is this:

Street parking is completely legal in Stoneybrook.

So the next time Big Willy knocks at your door and tells you to move your car from the street in to the driveway, tell him to go pound sand.

You can park where you want, when you want in your community. Right now.

Even before the April 3 HOA election.

And the current HOA board knows it. Some of them just don’t like it – especially Fineberg.

It is baffling that to this day the HOA is directing Alert Protective Services to have their security guards attempt to enforce a by-law they know to be invalid.

They’re all just counting on years of you being good little boys and girls, and that you’ll continue to be compliant. Because they said so.

But now you know the truth.

The streets are owned by the public. That is verifiable information by the Lee County Clerk of Courts.

And you can park on those streets if you want to, except in front of fire hydrants, directly in front of mailboxes, etc.. That is verifiable information by Lee County code.

Sorry Big Willy, but you’re going to need to stop telling people to move their cars.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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