Raise your hand if you watched the September 11, 2019 meeting of the Stoneybrook Advisory Committee.
Okay, so… Just me I guess.
Well if you do decide to check it out on the Gateway Services District’s channel on YouTube, you’ll see committee member Warren Davies make two surprising statements.
First, said Davies: “One of the things that’s come up in the – on the web – has been there’s no rules against parking in either place. Because Gateway Services don’t have any rules. And I’ve got two inches of paperwork that says they do.”
Now would be a good time to clarify something: I’m certainly not suggesting that if Gateway Services created a rule that banned street parking it would be legally valid. But I am saying that if the district had created a formal rule (even an invalid one) and asked the Stoneybrook HOA to help enforce it, that would at least help explain the HOA board’s behavior in attempting to enforce said rule.
What this publication has reported in the – on the web – is that we’ve looked through all of the minutes from Gateway District meetings looking for the rule, as well as submitted a formal records request asking the GSCDD to send us a copy of it, and both efforts failed to produce a rule.
For those two reasons, along with the Stoneybrook HOA not being able to produce a copy of the rule, I wrote that there is no rule. Because if there was one I would have found it by now.
While Davies claims he has proof of the rule, I suspect what he has is the same stuff I do. That is, he has documents outlining recommendations from vendors suggesting that in their opinion a parking ban would be a good idea for Stoneybrook.
But recommendations from the attorney or vendors or even district staff do not automatically become rules for the community, and Davies knows that. In Gateway’s case, rules need to be created by the Board of Supervisors, and Davies knows that too. To my knowledge as well as the district’s knowledge, that never happened. Again – not that it would be valid if they did create a rule, but it would at least help explain some of the HOA’s enforcement activities.
So Davies should either produce the actual TEXT OF THE RULE ITSELF (he can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org) with the resolution number if there is one … or Davies should retract his statement from earlier this week suggesting he has a copy of the rule. We’re looking for the actual wording of the rule itself, not a group of vendor recommendations that Davies may feel forms the basis of an unwritten rule.
The second surpirse of the meeting was watching Davies throw his support behind the debunked Tetra Tech memo from 2009 that provided the justification for the ‘NO STREET PARKING’ signs.
Since the memo was exposed for its outright fabrication and hogwash analysis, not a single person has stood up to vouch for that memo until Davis did a few days ago.
Here’s the relevant part of that memo:
Let’s get the fabrication out of the way first. Lee County ordinance 24-29 simply does not say what Tetra Tech said it did.
It just doesn’t. Nor does any other Lee County ordindance, or Florida Statute.
So that one’s easy.
The other justification for the street parking signs was that the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials recommends that streets be 34 feet wide, and since Stoneybrook’s are only 20, there should be a street parking ban.
Bear with me here for a second…
Federal agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) are formed by Congress or by Presidential executive order. Since they were created by the legislative or executive branch of the government, it was possible to give these agencies the power to create and enforce regulations. These agencies are able to create rules because they have the Office of the Presidency or Congress as their origin, and those entities have legally granted them the powers that they have.
But when a group of guys get together and form a trade association and give it a name, it doesn’t mean that association has any powers. Whatever suggestions or recommendations they make are just that: it’s their own ideas.
Their ideas aren’t binding on anyone or required for anything.
Now I’m sure the AAHSTO is filled with smart people. They have their office in Washington, DC so they can be close to government officials and all that. I’m sure they do great work. But just because they say they think roads should be 34 feet wide doesn’t automatically make it the rule of the land in Gateway, Florida or anywhere else.
Yet this very recommendation from a trade association with no authority or power … along with a fabricated quote of a county ordinance … is why those ‘NO STREET PARKING’ signs stand today.
If Davies wants to stand behind the Tetra Tech memo, that’s his right.
But the memo is extremely flawed and thus there is no justification for those street signs to exist.
And as you will learn next week, multiple attorneys have written to the GSCDD saying that the signs (along with the message on them) are not legal and should be taken down.