By Rusty Bradshaw, Independent Newsmedia
An East Valley legislator wants to put a stop to HOAs regulating parking in their communities, but his proposed law may have little affect in the West Valley.
Arizona Sen. John Kavanaugh (R-Fountain Hills) introduced Senate Bill 1240, attempting to amend Section 33-1818 of Arizona Revised Statutes that prohibits associations from regulating public roadways, to include all planned communities in the state. Current law only restricts those communities established after Dec. 31, 2014. Mr. Kavanaugh believes private associations should not be allowed to regulate traffic rules on public roadways.
“I have gotten calls from all over the state from people who say HOAs have people hiding in the bushes taking down license numbers and giving citations,” he explained.
The law, if passed, would not affect those planned communities that own their own roadways.
“I respect the HOAs that own their own streets,” Mr. Kavanaugh said. “But for the others, the rules and regulations should come from the municipal body.”
These and other legislative matters will be the topic of discussion during the first Sun Cities legislative forum 8 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24 at Palmbrook Country Club, 9350 W. Greenway Road, Sun City.
Darin Fisher is the CEO for Vision Community Management, which operates the HOAs for four communities in Surprise — Bell West Ranch, Copper Canyon Ranch, Kenly Farms and Royal Ranch. He said this bill, or something similar, is an almost annual occurrence.
“This is pretty much clockwork, like flu season,” Mr. Fisher said.
Community management offices like his are somewhat out of the loop on parking issues and their enforcement. Mr. Fisher said a common misconception is that parking restrictions are a result of HOA overreach, instead in most cases city planning departments require these restrictions.
Communities designed in the last decade or so tend to have narrower streets, Mr. Fisher said, to the point that in some communities emergency vehicles cannot pass if cars are parked on both sides of the road.
He said the number one question most community management receive from homeowners and HOA boards is why on-street parking is not enforced more strictly in their communities. Given that landscape, the issues created by this bill, if passed, would seem to outweigh the problems it solves.
“It’s a solution in search of a problem,” Mr. Fisher said. “This is really not going to solve anything and it will have unintended consequences.”
While the Sun City Home Owners Association opposes the bill, it may have little affect in the age restricted community. Mr. Kavanaugh’s bill includes a clause that allows HOAs the authority to regulate parking within their codes, covenants and restrictions if “the governmental entity has formally granted that authority to the association.”
Because the Sun Cities are unincorporated areas of Maricopa County, the county is the governmental entity with jurisdiction in those communities. Maricopa County officials designated SCHOA as the entity to enforce Sun City CC&Rs, and made PORA that designee in Sun City West.
“Counties generally do not establish parking restrictions within these unincorporated areas,” stated Carole Studdard, SCHOA marketing director, in an email blast to residents urging them to contact their legislators to oppose SB 1240.
The only parking regulate is Sun City’s CC&Rs is limiting all vehicles, especially RVs, to 72 consecutive hours parked either next to the curb on the street or in owners’ driveways, according to Art Jenkins, SCHOA board member and former Posse commander.
Pam Schwartz, SCHOA board president, said the agency was researching possible variances for caregivers.
Mr. Kavanaugh said if municipal entity officials who have given associations authority to regulate parking believe the association is abusing that authority, it can be removed.
Jim Powell, SCHOA Roads and Safety Committee chairman last month asked if there was a way for county code enforcement officers to address other parking issues, including parking on the sidewalk and the wrong side of the street. Mr. Jenkins said Posse members used to, as a matter of course, address the problem when they saw it.
“When I was with the Posse we would knock on doors and ask people if that was their vehicle,” he explained. “Most people thought they were doing a good thing (by parking on the sidewalk) because they were making room for traffic on the street.”
PORA of Sun City West President Rob Robbins in an email statement said his organization is studying this year’s bill and the effects, if passed, they may have on Sun City West.
“The Board of Directors of PORA have formed a subcommittee to review the proposed senate bills, SB 1240 is just one of the bills,” Mr. Robbins stated. “At this time, it is uncertain how SB 1240 will affect our community.”
The PORA subcommittee will work with other HOA groups in assessing the affects and take appropriate steps to communicate affects in Sun City West to legislators.
“We live in very unique communities and have worked hard over the years to make them that way,” Mr. Robbins stated. “It is very important for our residents to attend the legislative forum and voice their concerns.”
Editor’s Note: Matt Roy and Richard Smith contributed to this story.
Rusty Bradshaw can be reached at 623-445-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Continue the discussion at www.yourwestvalley.com.