In April 2013, Governor Brewer signed Senate Bill 1278-Parking on Public Streets, which is a law forbidding HOA’s that are formed after January 1, 2014 from regulating the public streets within a neighborhood. This gives some closure to a years-long battle driven by complaints to Arizona lawmakers from frustrated homeowner. When a subdivision is formed, the developers write a set of rules for the community known as the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R’s). Most of these CC&R’s include parking regulations that the homeowners are responsible for complying with in front of their own houses. For years, homeowners have complained of being continuously fined by HOA’s for violating rules related to parking in front of their houses.
This was especially frustrating for homeowners who had multiple drivers in their home and were limited by garage and driveway space. In some cases, homeowners were being warned and fined for random vehicles that were parked overnight in front of their house. From this perspective, this law is being praised as a triumph for the rights of homeowners. Many feel that if neighborhood streets are publicly owned by a municipality, then a HOA should have no jurisdiction or authority to regulate a street that is not theirs. Understandably, if the streets are privately owned by the HOA, then there is no question if the HOA should be able to regulate the streets.
However, there are others that feel that this new law is stripping a HOA’s ability to enforce regulations that are aimed at protecting neighborhoods. For instance, if you woke up tomorrow and found a 30′ RV that you didn’t own parked out in front of your house, you might be o.k. with it for a day or so, thinking that it was only there temporarily. However, if that same RV stayed there indefinitely (causing a safety hazard to your children riding out of your driveway or maybe blocking a scenic view you once enjoyed), you might not be too happy about that situation. If you lived in a neighborhood that fell under the new parking statutes, then there would be very little that you could do legally against the owner of that vehicle. With no authority to regulate, the HOA’s would not be able to help, and if the RV was legally parked on the street then there is presumably nothing the municipality could do to assist either.
In taking into account the varying interests on both sides of this issues, parking regulations become a balance between protecting neighborhoods and not trampling on reasonable usage by the homeowners. It will be interesting to see how this new law plays out in HOA neighborhoods formed after January 1, 2014. In any case, it seems that the real answer to addressing these parking issues would be for HOA’s to craft reasonable rules and regulations that balance these interests. However, this balance is not easily achieved and requires homeowners and HOA’s to come together for an amicable solution.