Monday, August 30, 2010

Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal issues ruling on truck parking restrictions

In a decision that could have a positive impact on an association’s ability to enforce its parking restrictions, last week Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal finally issued its ruling in the case of Kuvin v. City of Coral Gables. Although the case involved a municipality’s right to enforce parking restrictions, much of the reasoning in the decision could be applicable to community associations as well.
Because community associations are not political subdivisions, an association would not be held to the stricter analysis the court applied to the City of Coral Gables. In the opinion, the court upheld the City of Coral Gables’ restrictive ordinance concerning trucks and stated that:

“The City may constitutionally pass ordinances to enhance or maintain the aesthetic appeal of the community and to protect the City’s residential neighborhoods against the lingering presence of commercial-looking vehicles.”

While an association’s ability to regulate the community on aesthetic grounds is generally acceptable if provided for in the association’s governing documents, and subject to other statutory provisions (such as Section 720.3035, Florida Statutes, in regard to homeowner associations), this ruling appears to extend the ability to regulate due to aesthetics to parking as well. The exact wording of your association’s documents in regard to parking would have to be reviewed to determine if the Kuvin case would be beneficial. Furthermore, whether such parking restrictions appear in the association’s declaration or by-laws, as opposed to a rule passed by the association board, may also be a factor in determining the enforceability.

No matter what your feelings are about the appeal of trucks, this case will certainly be used by associations looking to uphold parking restrictions based on aesthetic considerations in the future.

4 comments:

  1. Ms. Berger,

    We live in an HOA with parking restrictions on trucks and other commercial vehicles but which are outlined under the "Nuisance" section of the Declaration. Presumably the intent of this nuisance covenant was to suggest that the presence of such vehicles would be aesthetically displeasing (what else could it be?). However, I've read and been told that the grounds for a legal nuisance must rise above the level of "merely aesthetic". Accordingly, would you agree that the enforceability of our parking restrictions are in jeopardy due to their characterization as an aesthetic nuisance?

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  2. I would not want to opine on the enforceability of your parking restrictions in this kind of format. I will tell you that putting a commercial vehicle restriction solely in the Nuisance section does present some legal hurdles. Typically, the level needed to attain a "general nuisance" level is quite high and would require an assault on several senses. The enforceability of your particular restrictions depends entirely on the wording used and the reasonableness of the restriction. Restrictions contained within a Declaration are cloaked with the presumption of reasonableness.

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  3. Thank you, Ms. Berger. Yes, the specific wording of our truck restriction is likely to come under attack for a variety of reasons (e.g. reasonableness, selective enforcement, etc.), however, I was particularly concerned about it's sole presence under the Nuisance section. If it could be proven that truck & van parking (especially non-commercial) does not rise to the level of a nuisance per se, then it seems the specific language and/or reasonableness of the restriction would become moot, no?

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  4. I have a question if you can please answer.

    The subdivision I am about to move in also says no trucks; however, they say it is a fire hazard.

    In contrast, they say a SUV would be fine. however, the size is the same if not smaller.

    Inaddition, they say you are not allowed to have a motorcycle too.

    It is like a double jeopardy for me. How do I handle these issues. Please help.

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