It looks as though Gateway Greens is increasing the control that their self-created Access Control group has over the residents of that community.

Access Control is the code name they came up with for their security operation, since using the word ‘security’ in the name would imply that their guards have proper, official, Florida-issued security licenses. And who needs that kind of red tape?

Psssh…Guards who are licensed? That’s for you suckas over in Stoneybrook.

For those of you who are new to reading this publication, last year Gateway Greens got rid of professional security firm Kent Security and replaced them with their own residents.

So if you live there, and your neighbor is one of the guards, they get to see security notes about you and your kids.

And they do keep notes and have warning that pop up in little red squares on their computers. I’ve seen them.

It’s pret-ty awesome. (If you’re one of the guards.)

Anyway, after 15 years of behaving like a normal HOA and issuing warnings or fines for parking on the streets overnight, Gateway Greens has begun towing cars away on a first offense.

How many of us have parked on the street in the early evening and said “ah, I’ll move it later tonight” and then forgotten? In my case, I would shoot up out of bed from a dead sleep at 4:30am and scramble to go see if Statewide Security had issued me a $100 ticket.

Yes I would deserve a ticket, but at least my car would still be there.

If you do that in Gateway Greens now, your car would be gone.

An email to Gateway Greens residents was sent by Community Association Manager Christie Von Fintel warning about the towing, but – shocker – not everybody who lives there is on the email list.

Worse, often with email lists, the emails are sent to spam or to a special inbox for promotions and go completely unnoticed by the intended recipients.

When it comes to mass-emails sometimes as few as 10-20% of the people actually get them and open them. Is email really the best way to communicate that your vehicle will vanish if you fall asleep on the couch without moving your car into the driveway?

At least one resident didn’t get any notification and had her son’s vehicle towed away as he spent the night. She reported a cost of $197.10 to get the car back, but she did not mention if there was going to be an HOA fine as well.

If you live in Gateway Greens and see your neighbor’s car out later at night, maybe warn them about all this.

Like other HOAs, the Gateway Greens board will make policy changes and expect you to be proactive about finding out about the decisions they’ve made. It’s better that you disturb your neighbor than they find out the hard way the next morning and have to take an Uber to work.

And if you do accidentally park your car overnight on the streets of Gateway Greens, your best hope is that your car is being burglarized when the community’s security patrol passes by. Because in that case, Access Control probably won’t notice anything.

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

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