Gateway Sun

Supervisor Doug Banks could become a powerful person in his community of Stoneybrook, if everything that we’re hearing is true.

The Gateway Sun has learned that the Gateway District is quietly working on a plan would allow the Stoneybrook Homeowners Association to decide whether to tow away vehicles parked on GSCDD-owned roads.

To be clear: the Stoneybrook HOA, who as we understand it are having wet dreams over this possibility, are powerless to implement a towing policy in their community. It would be Gateway’s Board of Supervisors who would decide whether or not cars can be towed in Stoneybrook, and under what conditions. But if the district proceeds you can be 99.9% sure they would grant the HOA the ability to make the call over whether or not a vehicle gets towed away.

Chairman Margaret Fineberg and Supervisor Kathleen Flaherty both live in Stoneybrook and would unquestionably vote in favor of towing there. Vice-Chairman Bill Guy likely would not agree to this policy because he knows it means a towing policy could one day be implemented in his own community of Pelican Preserve, where the GSCDD also owns the roads. Supervisor Ed Tinkle would also vote against a towing policy in Stoneybrook for several reasons, the first of which is that he doesn’t like that three Stoneybrook residents have so much influence over GSCDD matters.

Guy and Tinkle could also point to the fact the Stoneybrook HOA recently conducted a survey that received an incredibly high response rate. And in that survey, 74.4% of the respondents basically told the HOA to go fly a kite when it came to a ban on street parking.

So it will come down to Banks, who voted in favor of keeping “No Parking” signs up in Stoneybrook, but has been against towing in general any time it comes up at GSCDD meetings.

How would towing even be possible on public roads in Stoneybrook?

Bottom line? When you get right down to it?

This is only even possible because Gateway’s lawyer Anthony Pires will tell the Board of Supervisors: “My legal opinion is whatever Margaret Fineberg wants it to be, and unless and until it’s adjudicated in court to be wrong, then I’m just going to feed the rest of the board whatever Margaret wants me to.”

Fineberg, if you’re new to Gateway, wants as much control over the streets of Stoneybrook as she can possibly get.

Pires will then point to a relatively new change in a paragraph of CDD law which says that although a Community Development District does not have police powers, the new law “does not prohibit a district from contracting with a towing operator to remove a vehicle or vessel from a district-owned facility or property if the district follows the authorization and notice and procedural requirements in s. 715.07 for an owner or lessee of private property.”

The problem is that this new change was intended for individual buildings or community parks. Not Stoneybrook.

All the new law says that it “does not prohibit a towing policy”… it doesn’t say “this law supersedes Lee County ordinances and all other Florida laws regarding parking on publicly-owned roads.”

So if the HOA board member chooses to tow the vehicle of someone willing to fight back, they could have a gigantic mess on their hands with unintended consequences. If the owner of the towed vehicle gets angry enough, they could retaliate by teaching the GSCDD that guard houses aren’t allowed on public roads. That’s what I would do, if it were me.

But the reality is that if three out of the five Supervisors go along with it, and nobody challenges the GSCDD in court, Stoneybrook will effectively have a towing policy. And the district will be able to grant anyone they wish the authority to decide who gets towed and who does not, including the Stoneybrook HOA board members.

Now, what about the signage requirements in 715.07?

They’re murky, at best. Because the requirements were designed for commercial lots, not 778-home communities like Stoneybrook.

Pires will advise the board that a single sign at the entrance to Stoneybrook will be sufficient to allow towing in the entire community. But it’s advice from Pires — and we’ve proven his claims when it comes to parking in Stoneybrook to be highly dubious. So who knows.

So where do things stand right now?

Pires and the Stoneybrook HOA board are secretly working on a towing policy for that community, and the Stoneybrook HOA will present it to the GSCDD board at a future meeting. Until then, nothing changes.

You are free to park on Stoneybrook’s streets at will.

The HOA board has decided they want to get aggressive again by harassing Stoneybrook residents with the fake parking warnings.

If you get one, as always, simply feel free to ignore it.

About Jeff Kuntz

view all posts

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

You May Like This