If the Gateway Services District is going to allow vehicles to be towed away from the streets of the Stoneybrook community, they should be careful who they hand the keys to the tow truck to.
The issue of towing in Stoneybrook was brought up at the August 1 meeting of Gateway’s Board of Supervisors because according to District Manager Chris Shoemaker: The Stoneybrook Advisory Committee has requested a towing policy and signage as a tool to enforce the “no street parking rule” on the streets of Stoneybrook.
Despite the fact that the GSCDD meeting was missing two of it’s Supervisors, the short-handed board passed Gateway Resolution 2019-10 which made the entire community of Stoneybrook a “Tow-Away Zone.”
I suppose if you’re someone who’s been trying to institute an official street parking ban in Stoneybrook, it was clearly time for a victory lap. But while the Stoneybrook Advisory Committee was discussing the new policy at their own August 7 meeting, the committee’s leader Joe Mikulka made an absolutely stunning admission.
In a discussion as to how the HOA would get the word out about the new towing policy, Mikulka explained that one way would be in the HOA’s newsletter.
“It should be in The Scoop,” said Mikulka.
“It needs to be notified,” agreed JT Thomas, who is on both the Advisory Committee and the HOA board.
When another member of the Advisory Committee (I apologize for not knowing her name) pointed out that “it isn’t in the rules and regulations that were just covered. Not at all. It’s just not even covered.”
Thomas interjected, saying “You gotta remember, this (the street parking ban) is a Gateway Services rule. They are the ones that are enforcing it. They are the ones who are enforcing no parking.”
Mikulka said, “We are acting as their agent.”
Thomas added, “When people say, you know, I got this fake ticket on my car tonight that’s worth the paper it was written on. The only thing it says on that paper because, this is when I was [HOA] president we wrote it this way: Per Gateway Services rules, no street parking. Pretty much we wrote it on that just to let people know, hey, you’re not supposed to street park. We can’t enforce it, we can’t ticket, but the problem is I wanted to cover our butt.”
“And I’m going to tell you another thing,” said Mikulka. “I know things may have changed, but there was a time when I was [HOA] president, and I had a say about who was gonna get re-renting – about who was allowed to rent again, I used to look at those. And if that person had a lot of warnings for parking in the street that was a reason that we didn’t renew them.”
So according to Mikulka, while he was the president of the HOA, if you had too many street parking warnings for his liking and you were a renter, he made sure the HOA denied your application to renew your lease.
Not only did Mikulka force families to move out of the community, but that also created a burden on some homeowners whose houses presumably sat empty for however much time while a new renter was found, creating a loss of income. Not to mention the financial burden imposed on the family who was forced to move.
Of course, there is no valid “Gateway Services rule” for which to base such an important decision on. And even if there was, wouldn’t a punishment such as a denial of a lease renewal need to be a formal HOA policy that was specifically documented, quantified and approved by their HOA board?
At both the August 1 meeting of the Board of Supervisors and the August 7 meeting of the Stoneybrook Advisory Committee, Mikulka made statements that he strongly favored a selective enforcement towing policy. So it isn’t too much of a stretch to think Mikulka may have acted with a similar selective enforcement attitude toward forcing families to move out.
This publication has gone to great lengths to prove there is not a legal Stoneybrook Tow-Away Zone. But even if there was, it is this kind of liability-creating thinking and action that entities like the Gateway CDD and Stoneybrook HOA fear most – to say nothing of the lack of sensibility as to openly make such statements not too long after you acknowledge that what you’re saying is being video and audio recorded. Mikulka basically just admitted that he ordered the Code Red.
The Gateway Services District’s Board of Supervisors is set to meet at 3:00pm today at the district office located at 13240 Griffin Drive.