Gateway Sun

Multiple Stoneybrook residents I spoke with today told me that the security company was issuing warning citations over the weekend to vehicles that were parked on the streets in that community.

I reached out the the Stoneybrook CAM who assured me that these were “courtesy” warnings “for safety reasons” and that no further disciplinary action would be taken by the HOA.

That should ease the mind of one man who called and was concerned that the Stoneybrook HOA would cut off his transponder, which he uses to enter the community.

It has long been established that the roads in Stoneybrook are owned by the Gateway Services CDD, making the streets public property. And since the roads are not HOA property some feel it is inappropriate for the HOA’s security company to be warning people against parking on streets that their association does not own.

Earlier this year, the GSCDD’s attorney wrote a letter to the HOA notifying the Stoneybrook board that the security guards did not have legal authority to issue fines for street parking on the district-owned roads in Stoneybrook. The HOA had been fining people $100 in the past, but had already stopped several months before the CDD’s letter. (They stopped because the HOA board had already figured out on their own that the fines they were issuing were illegal.)

With fines off the table, Stoneybrook HOA President George Flaherty devised a plan to issue the “safety” warnings in the hope that he could influence his residents’ behavior against street parking.

When the residents of Stoneybrook were surveyed earlier this year, 74% stated they wanted some form of street parking in the community.

break-line

I thought we were all on the same page, and that this was behind us. But I guess not.

Street parking is allowed in Stoneybrook. Period.

That’s why there’s no $100 fines any more. Only those time-wasting warnings. Because believe me, if they could fine you for it — they would.

And quite frankly, this issue was over. It was resolved.

But by flexing his authority over the security operation, Flaherty is bringing the topic back to people’s minds in Stoneybrook and rolling the dice that at some point people are going to want their money back from the illegal $100 fines the HOA issued over the years.

Or worse, there’s also a risk that someone will challenge access.

All it would take would be for someone to argue that since the roads in front of the guard house, and behind the guard house, are all public property – that the Stoneybrook guards are willfully hindering the flow of traffic on public streets, which is a misdemeanor offense in Florida. Just ask the GSCDD’s lawyer.

Look, there are plenty of communities in Florida where the security guards just stand there and wave at cars, and which have gates automatically open when a car approaches. Flaherty’s street parking warning strategy could very well backfire on him and transform Stoneybrook from a gated community to an open-access community.

Hopefully the Florida legislature will pass a law that allows a CDD to convey streets to an HOA, just like a county is able to (provided 80% of the property owners in the HOA approve the conveyance).

At that point the Stoneybrook HOA could create whatever rules it wants for street parking.

Until that happens, however, Stoneybrook’s roads are owned by the public and you may park on them any time you wish.

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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