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HOA tells Florida officer they can’t park their marked vehicle in their driveway, now the PD is getting involved

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In yet another argument against homeowners associations, a Clearwater Police officer was told she could face hundreds of dollars in violation costs if she did not remove her marked police cruiser from the very driveway she paid for.

According to ABC Action News, both the officer and her husband are employed with law enforcement agencies, and local residents don’t have a problem with the police cruiser being there, as police presence generally leads to a decrease in crime.

Holiday Isles Management, the HOA managing the East Lake Woodlands neighborhood of Cross Pointe, stated that government-owned vehicle is a violation of HOA rules.

The move by the HOA is a peculiar one, as it had not been a problem in the past.

Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter expressed his dismay towards the HOA, stating that it was disappointing that the HOA would not flex on the issue.

“The actions of this association to changing the rules is disappointing, to say the least,” he said in a statement. “If you are going to change the rules on them, it seems logical to provide a grandfather clause that the association will honor. Not a grandfather clause they changed their mind on honoring.”



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5 COMMENTS

  1. In Denver a similar issue cropped up with a Denver PD Sergeant, who was on call 24/7. The HOA served him with a letter, stating he could not park his police cruiser in the street or in his driveway. He met with the HOA and explained the need to have his cruiser as his job required it and was on call for any and all emergencies 24/7. He also felt as one of the earliest and long time residents in this Denver community, that considering he worked for this community as well, he did not see it as a problem. Several members of the HOA did and the harrassment began from the HOA. The Officer realized at some point, major parking violation infractions were being made. It was either Xmas eve or New Years eve, all vehicles parked on the street after a certain time were towed out to a Police impound lot. Quite a large number of cars towed and upset residents. Several days later, the HOA rescinded all the fines and letter and the P.O. was allowed to keep his official vehicle home. This was a last resort that he struggled with for years, but it got results. For those who protect the community such as Police Officers, HOA ought exercise common sense, instead of bullying and ego gone awry.

  2. The HOA should be fined by the state with the fine being 3X’s whatever the current rate of their fine is. Then see how long the HOA wants to play these childish games!

  3. Your article did not state the issue or violation, but if it’s because a “commercial vehicle” he is Fl state attorney opinion.

    Ms. Susan Starkey
    Councilmember, Town of Davie
    6591 Orange Drive
    Davie, Florida 33314-3399

    RE: MOTOR VEHICLES–COMMERCIAL VEHICLES–HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION–LAW ENFORCEMENT–law enforcement vehicle is not a commercial vehicle.

    Dear Ms. Starkey:

    On behalf of the Town of Davie, you ask substantially the following question:

    Is a marked police vehicle assigned to a law enforcement officer a commercial vehicle?

    According to information provided to this office, a homeowners’ association in your town prohibits the parking of commercial vehicles within the community except when parked in the garage of a home with the garage door fully closed. This office has been advised that the term “commercial vehicle” is defined under the homeowners’ association rules to “include but not [be] limited to all automobiles, trucks and other vehicular equipment including station wagons, which bear signs or shall have printed on the sides of same reference to any commercial undertaking or enterprise.” A homeowner within the community has been advised by the homeowners’ association that the parking of a marked police cruiser in the homeowner’s driveway may violate the above prohibition against commercial vehicles. The homeowner is a law enforcement officer with the Miami Beach Police Department and has been assigned a marked police cruiser which he parks in his driveway.

    A marked police vehicle does not constitute a vehicle with reference to a commercial undertaking or enterprise. The term “commercial” has been generally defined as meaning “mercantile; occupied with commerce, relating to or dealing with commerce . . . derived by commerce or trade; engaged in trade; having financial profit as the primary aim.”[1] The Florida Statutes contain various definitions of commercial vehicles. Section 320.01(26), Florida Statutes, in defining a “commercial motor vehicle” for purposes of licensure, specifically excludes vehicles which are owned or operated by a governmental entity.[2] Section 403.413(2)(f), Florida Statutes, defines a “commercial vehicle” as “a vehicle that is owned or used by a business, corporation, association, partnership, or sole proprietorship or any other entity conducting business for a commercial purpose.” A “commercial purpose” is defined to mean “for the purpose of economic gain.”[3] In addition, this office has been advised that the Davie Town Council has determined that a police vehicle is not a commercial vehicle.

    The provision of law enforcement services is an integral and constituent part of government. It is the performance of a governmental duty owed to the general public at large. This office has previously recognized that the assignment of a police vehicle to an officer to drive during off-duty hours to provide quicker response when called to an emergency would be of a direct benefit to the public.[4] In addition, the presence of a police vehicle in a neighborhood may serve as a deterrent to crime. Clearly, the provision of law enforcement services does not constitute a commercial enterprise.

    Accordingly, I am of the opinion that a marked police vehicle assigned to a law enforcement officer does not constitute a commercial vehicle.

    Sincerely,

    Charlie Crist
    Attorney General

    CC/tall

    —————————————————–

    [1] 15A C.J.S. Commercial p. 1 (1967).

    [2] And see s. 316.003(66), Fla. Stat., defining “commercial motor vehicle” for purposes of the Uniform Traffic Control Law, as “[a]ny self-propelled or towed vehicle used on the public highways in commerce to transport passengers or cargo, if such vehicle: (a) Has a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more; (b) Is designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver; or (c) Is used in the transportation of materials found to be hazardous for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act, as amended (49 U.S.C. ss. 1801 et seq.).

    [3] Section 403.413(2)(e), Fla. Stat.

    [4] Attorney General Opinion 74-384.”

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