Gateway Sun

There are many misconceptions about the street parking ban in the Stoneybrook community. Let’s answer them all one by one.

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Myth: Stoneybrook’s roads are too narrow for street parking!

Truth: Stoneybrook’s roads are exactly average for Lee County and measure 20 feet wide. Do you know who else’s roads are 20 feet wide in Gateway? Everybody’s.

It is simply illogical to assert that Stoneybrook’s 20 foot roads are completely unsafe while everybody else’s 20 foot roads have proven very safe in Gateway for decades.

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Myth: Street parking is not safe, therefore there should be no parking!

Truth: Good news. Lee County’s top Department of Transportation officials have told the Gateway Services District that if a supermajority of Stoneybrook residents (75%) want no parking then they will implement it for you. But please keep in mind that no parking will mean NO PARKING. Not for you, not for Comcast, not for your landscapers. If safety is the argument you’re making for no parking then that applies to EVERY VEHICLE. So no parking would mean NO PARKING. At all. So be careful what you wish for.

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Myth: If you park two vehicles across from each others, fire trucks cannot get by!

Truth: Maybe, maybe not. Fire trucks are actually not as wide as you might think they are. But there is literally nobody on this planet who drives Gateway’s roads more than I do. It’s all I do, every single day. The number of times I’ve counted two vehicles parked in such a way that an emergency vehicle could not pass is probably zero. Why? Because people aren’t stupid. And people are just as not-stupid in Stoneybrook as they are not-stupid in other communities. Obviously the exception to this is during garage sales. But in that circumstance everyone is close enough to their vehicles to move them if necessary.

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Myth: Florida Statute 316.2045(1) has been quoted by Gateway’s lawyer for 7 years, and this law justifies the street parking ban in Stoneybrook. That law states…

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.

Truth: The Gateway Sun debunked this on April 17, 2017… F.S. 316.2045(1) has been INCORRECTLY quoted by Gateway’s lawyer for 7 years. The courts have ruled that the term “willfully” means that in order for someone to be guilty of 316.2045(1) the State of Florida must prove that the REASON you parked your car on the street was for the SPECIFIC PURPOSE of obstructing traffic. Obviously, someone parking on the streets of Stone Tower Loop to visit their buddy did not do so to willfully obstruct traffic. District council were made aware of our findings and did not refute them.

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Myth: Kathleen Flaherty said you cannot park within 30 feet of a mailbox according to 316.1945.

Truth: Flaherty did say that because, Flaherty. But 316.1945 says no such thing. Mailboxes are not even mentioned at all.

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Myth: But there are signs that say “NO STREET PARKING” and you must obey Stoneybrook’s street signs.

Truth: It has been proven that these signs were placed illegally by the GSCDD’s Operations Manager back in 2010 based on an incorrect reading of Lee County Ordinance 24-29 .. and without approval from the Board of Supervisors of that time. The Supervisors did vote 3-2 to leave the signs up a few days ago, but that does not make them legal for a host of reasons. First is that the Stoneybrook development order would have to be amended in order for those signs to be placed. Second, even if that had already happened, those signs don’t come anywhere near complying with the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Third, there would have to be signs placed every 20 to 30 feet down both sides of the road – or the curbs would have to be painted yellow. Essentially even if you were given a parking ticket you would simply describe the Stoneybrook set-up to a judge and you would be found not guilty. And even if you were guilty, the maximum fine would be $32 – not the $100 the HOA had fined people in the past.

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Myth: The HOA is sending Alert Protection Services guards to enforce street parking.

Truth: Alert Protective Services is lucky to still have a license to operate given the way their guards attempted to enforce Florida Statute. Only law enforcement officers may do that. Nevertheless, the order has come down to Alert and they will no longer be enforcing the HOA’s illegal street parking ban.

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Myth: What if Lee County Sheriff’s Office wants to enforce the street parking ban like some people say they will?

Truth: As long as you are parked in accordance to Lee County’s normal parking rules, you’re fine. There is no policy banning street parking in Lee County, nor is there one in place with the GSCDD. There is literally no entity attempting to enforce street parking in Stoneybrook. Except Warren Davies, but he’s a grumpy, misinformed crackpot.

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Myth: But you just said the GSCDD voted to keep the signs up.

Truth: They did. But they did not vote to implement a street parking policy of any kind. Besides, all enforcement would be done by LCSO and be adjudicated by the courts of Lee County. Since the Stoneybrook signage and parking ban notification set-up is invalid in every way, plus the fact they are public roads, no deputy is going to write you a ticket. And if you get some rookie who does, no judge is going to rule against you.

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Myth: Everybody I know in Stoneybrook wants street parking!

Truth: Yeah. About that.

Earlier this year a street parking survey was conducted in which 320 of the 778 homes responded. The survey’s options were as follows:

Option 1: No street parking. (82 votes)
Option 2: Street parking is allowed with a permit from the HOA. (147 votes)
Option 3: Street parking is allowed from 6am until midnight with no permit necessary. (91 votes)

The results meant that 74.4% of the community wanted some form of street parking.

The normal thing to do in this circumstance would be for the HOA board to make a motion to vote on the most popular option to honor the wishes of the community. But instead of doing that, if you can believe this, Margaret Fineberg made a motion to adopt the LEAST popular option.

And in order to justify that decision… the board took the 458 homes who did not vote – and this is true – they applied all of the non-votes to Option 1 (No street parking) while evaluating the results.

“A full 69% of the home owners did not request a change in the current parking,” said George Flaherty because, Flaherty.

That rather amazing logic gave Option 1 the overwhelming majority in the survey results.

Despite the rigged survey result, the board deadlocked in a 3-3 tie vote on Fineberg’s motion which meant they would need to address the issue again down the road. But they never did.

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Myth: People are saying the Gateway Sun is wrong. That there is still no street parking allowed in Stoneybrook.

Truth: People say all kinds of things. At this time, there has been no valid law brought to light that would ban parking properly on one of Stoneybrook’s public streets. Neither Lee County nor the GSCDD have a policy against street parking to enforce, and now Alert have been directed to stop attempting to enforce the HOA’s illegal street parking ban altogether.

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Question: So can I park or not?!?!

Answer: You can park in accordance with the normal Lee County parking ordinances (not in front of fire hydrants, etc) 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. But they will be looking for other infractions to nail you on. So be diligent in not parking with your tire touching the lawn, etc. Anybody who tells you that you cannot park is lying to you or still believes in the 316.2045(1) Fairy.

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Question: What if I don’t want to park on the streets?

Answer: Then don’t! I’m not telling you to park on the streets. I don’t care what you do. I just want to make sure you know you’re allowed to regardless of what some would have you believe.

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Question: Whose car is that in the pic?

Answer: Mine.

 

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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