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With car ownership and land costs on the rise and street width and parking on the decline, where the two meet, battles erupt. Parking committees post dayglo orange violation stickers on vehicles, roving tow trucks with instructions to hook and tow on sight and neighbors duking it out over parking spaces.

In an effort to resolve the problems, the board often enacts a parking policy. In considering such a policy, the board should first review the governing documents for guidelines. One issue to consider is common area parking (not to be confused with city street parking). As a rule, all residents have a right to use undesignated common area parking. Assigning parking spaces to a particular owner would be illegal since it is common area. However, controlling the type of vehicles that are allowed to park in the common area is within the board's authority.

To preserve parking availability, it's important to prohibit parking of stored, wrecked, inoperable and commercial vehicles. Restrictions can also apply to trailers, RVs, large trucks, boats and jet skis. As long as these vehicles can be garaged without displacing resident vehicles to common area parking, they can be permitted.

Restricting certain kind of commercial vehicles can get dicey if they are the primary mode of transportation for a resident, like a utility van or small truck. Exceptions might have to be made especially if your HOA is populated with blue collar workers.

Adequate guest parking is something that should be provided for in various strategic locations. They should be clearly marked so nearby residents don't commandeer them for their own. Of course, frequent guests should be instructed to park in the designated area or in the resident's driveway if available.

Fire Lanes are no car zones. You can aggressively tow without warning since violators obstruct emergency vehicles. Simply make sure the curbs are brightly painted and lettered with NO PARKING - TOW WITHOUT WARNING. Then, all that's needed is a phone call to the local towing service.

Steer clear of parking permits if at all possible. Tracking permits are labor intensive, expensive and bound to clash with guest and rental cars. Rather than saddling the HOA with a cumbersome administrative system, let affected residents inform the board or manager when there is a parking abuse. Most of the time, there are only a few scofflaws that need to be dealt with. A tow or two generally solves the problem.

Parking is not a battle easily won. It's more like a fighting guerilla warfare with snipers popping up here and there. Stand your ground and be prepared for the long haul.

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