LCSO takes strong action to help end Stoneybrook parking drama; Your turn, Supervisors

Posted on February 12, 2020, 10:28 am
9 mins

Well, it wasn’t “judicially determined to the contrary based upon the foregoing and the principals of Florida law dealing with parking on the streets of Stoneybrook at Gateway,” but it will have to do.

The Gateway Sun has learned that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office’s legal department (among others at the LCSO I’m told) has been following the parking drama in Stoneybrook and, as expected, they have told the Stoneybrook HOA that their 2006 traffic enforcement agreement with the LCSO is not valid.

I have to wonder if Gateway’s Board of Supervisors will ever grow tired of receiving correct legal advice from a local gossip blog while their actual lawyer either gives them incorrect advice or sits silently while residents misinform the board on legal matters.

But here we are.


In order for traffic enforcement services to resume, the Gateway District (who own the roads in Stoneybrook) would need to enter into an interlocal agreement with Lee County and the LCSO, and the district would need to take steps to ensure the roads in Stoneybrook were MUTCD complaint — including finding an engineer that is willing to put their license on the line to certify it as such.

This is exactly what I said would happen, and exactly what Gateway’s lawyer should have advised his client would happen but never did.

You know… I can’t help but to think back to December 16 and the giddy mood Gateway District Chairperson Margaret Fineberg must have been in while sitting in the HOA office when Deputy Raymond Strobel issued the invalid parking ticket at what I believe was Fineberg’s specific request.

At that moment Fineberg had successfully weaponized the Lee County Sheriff’s Office to her benefit in this long-running community dispute.

It won’t happen again.

Just a few hours before the HOA received the news from the LCSO, Stoneybrook Advisory Committee president and former HOA board member Joe Mikulka was once again lecturing the residents in Stoneybrook’s popular Facebook group that parking was not allowed, that the Gateway Sun was wrong about everything, that the Gateway District were the ones who banned parking on the roads.

And, in the latest attempt by Fineberg, Mikulka and whomever supports them to insist that street parking is banned, Mikulka shared details of an agreement between the Gateway District and the HOA which assigned some management functions of the roads to the HOA.

So that’s what they’re going with now? Cool. I can debunk that one in a single sentence rather than taking an entire article to pick it apart: As the Gateway District was not legally granted enforcement powers upon its formation by Florida Statute, they do not have enforcement powers that they can transfer to the HOA, nor can they create those powers for the HOA — per the Attorney General of Florida in AGO 2009-40.

We good? Let’s move on.

Mikulka did get one thing right yesterday about our coverage while he was speaking in the Facebook group.

Mikulka said: I remember a post on this site saying that Gateway was going to come out and remove the No Parking signs. The last time I looked they were still there. I think it was a repost from the Gateway Sun.

On September 27, 2019, I did report that Supervisor Ed Tinkle was going to make a motion to remove the signs at the next Gateway District meeting, and that I felt the motion would pass.

I reported that Tinkle was going to make that motion, because he told me he was going to.

I reported that I thought it would succeed because one of the “on the fence” Supervisors told me the day before that they agreed the signs needed to come down.

But as the discussion flowed during the Gateway meeting, other concerns were brought up and Tinkle never made the motion – which was actually the correct call by Tinkle based on what happened during the discussion.

But since Mikulka brought up the no parking signs, let’s talk about them.

An authority no less than the Lee County Sheriff’s Office just told the HOA (and,by extension the Board of Supervisors) what’s up.

Those signs are more meaningless than ever, and serve only as a tool for the HOA to justify itself in harassing the residents of Stoneybrook. And the harassment will continue if the signs remain.

Don’t believe me?

When an HOA board member named Terry Targia told the Facebook group that he had confirmed with the LCSO that they won’t enforce traffic laws in Stoneybrook, here’s what Mikulka said: You are correct Terry. We found out today that they want the signs inspected. It has nothing to do with the legality of enforcing no parking.

Uh, Joe? It has EVERYTHING to do with the legality of enforcing no parking. In fact that’s ALL it’s about is the legality of enforcing no parking!

But it’s just proof positive that the HOA will persist in their efforts to shape a community policy over which they have no control, and they will point to the Gateway District’s invalid signs to justify that harassment.

It is time, Board of Supervisors … specifically Vice-Chairman Bill Guy and Supervisor Doug Banks… to do the right thing for the people of Gateway and specifically the residents of Stoneybrook. I mean really, what more proof do you need? I understand you don’t want to be seen as taking legal advice from a blog, but your district has received correspondence from Lee County Deputy Attorney Michael Jacob blasting the signs, and another lawyer named Dawn E. Perry-Lenhart wrote to the GSCDD saying: It is clear neither the Gateway Services CDD nor Stoneybrook HOA independently possesses the power or authority to install “no street parking” signs or collect fines for violations of these signs. The no parking signs installed within the Stoneybrook community are not supported by approval obtained from Lee County Department of Transportation as required under Code chapter 24 and Florida Statutes.

And now the frickin’ LCSO has had their lawyer get involved and come to agree with the Sun‘s position on all this.

Bill, Doug, I really like you guys… but any further delay in ordering the removal of the signs despite the overwhelming evidence that they don’t belong there and are not legal or valid is just a signal from you two that you approve of the harassment of Stoneybrook residents by its HOA board.

The residents of Stoneybrook will have their say at the HOA level this spring, that’s true. But that board cannot order the removal of those stupid signs. Only your board can.

Supervisor Tinkle will vote to remove them, obviously. Chairperson Fineberg won’t. Supervisor Kathleen Flaherty probably won’t but I’m not sure now given this LCSO decision.

Supervisors…. please do your part to end this argument…

Make a motion to remove the signs at the February 20 meeting, and vote to remove them…

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

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