Spiraling Out Of Control-The Parking Postulations

Spiraling Out Of Control-The Parking Postulations


It’s summer, a time for vacations, and time for fun. I just got home from a 10 day vacation with my two children, their families, and all my grandchildren. There were 15 of us and everyone had a lot of fun playing outdoors. Luckily, we had a place in Iowa at a private home to have our summer fun.


Commonly, when I get together with my kids and their families, we have some discussion about what I do for a living. It doesn’t happen every day, but at some point something comes up the triggers the questions. In this case, I was commenting about the weird things that I saw in Charles City that I would never see in California. Twice, I parked next to cars that were running, with the keys in, and the doors unlocked. Once, I drove down Main Street and saw a man in a pickup truck park his vehicle on the street in front of a store, get out, leave his truck door wide open, go around to the passenger side, help his daughter out, leave that door open, and go into the store. I went on to the grocery store and when I drove back down Main Street, the vehicle was still sitting there, in a parking place, with both doors wide open, the keys in the vehicle and it was running. It was a really nice truck. I couldn’t imagine that happening in California unless it were an invitation to steal the truck and get the insurance money. I mentioned this to my kids and we got into a discussion about parking. My son and daughter-in-law from North Carolina live in a homeowners association and they may be among the worst violators with regard to parking and front lawn disarray. They use the garage for storage, park in the driveway, and on the street when housing stray vehicles. They have invited me to bring my RV to come and stay with them suggesting that I can park it in the driveway.


Of course this makes me shudder a little, although I appreciate the invitation. I ask if their HOA allows parking in the driveway, let alone parking of an RV, even on a temporary basis. I ask if they would seek permission for such a thing. That leads into a discussion of what they think about the Association rules which is, that they don’t allow neighbors any reasonable freedoms, and that while they don’t like criticize the board, they feel is okay to ignore some of the rules because all of the neighbors do. I asked them if they weren’t a little worried that with all the cars parked in the street, it might lead to a child running out between the cars and getting hit by a vehicle trying to navigate the now quite narrow street. Their answer was people can take their children to the nearby park in the Association to play. I secretly hoped they would never be the ones to have the unfortunate experience of hitting a child, even if slow moving through the maze of cars to get to their own home.


I love my children very much of course, and this kind of discussion is somewhat difficult because I find myself trying to point out the other side which is an association attempting to preserve the quality of the development. They mentioned that the rules were much more strictly applied when the developer was in control (and I know that to be because they wanted to sell units!!) but that the power had been turned over to the Association and now the board was more friendly and would probably be less apt to enforce the rules strictly. In fact, they mentioned that their lawn was full of weeds and they didn’t mow before they left.  They knew they would get a violation letter and a fine which they would pay because it was cheaper to pay the fine then pay someone to mow while they were on vacation. They would mow when they returned.


Their feeling, of course, is that the board should just live and let live. Their street is “less pretty” then the other streets in the development and frankly, I’m glad I do not own the house next to them or on the same street because the poor aesthetics and crowded street would surely affect the property values when the time comes to sell. Of course, I try to work this into the conversation, but most people today, and especially the younger generation, tend to be stressed enough in busy lives that they don’t have the wherewithal to worry about the future.


On the other hand, my daughter and son-in-law who live in California in a very small Association, 10 units, serve the Association. My son-in-law is on the board and everyone has tried to make him president, so it just sort of happened. They work hard serving on the board, and have some interest in setting a good example. You might want to check out my other blog posted today on my other blog site accessible through my website at www.californiacondoguru.comabout playing favorites.  In fact, when I left for vacation with my son and daughter, instead of leaving my vehicle in a guest parking space in their court, my son-in-law diligently moved it to their driveway where parking is allowed. They didn’t want to encourage long-term parking in the guest parking spaces.


Anyway, as you can see, there can be quite a contrast even within a family as to the importance and integrity of standing Association rules. My two children have diverse personalities. They attracted similar mates. In this case, my daughter is a planner, pragmatic, and J type personality and if you are into personality types this is meaningful. She married an engineer. My son is more of a P, like me, although less apt to think far in the future or exercise pragmaticism. He married an excellent middle school teacher who likes to push the line instead of toeing it, which makes her very capable of understanding middle schoolers, but not strictly married “to the book” meaning believing if rules make sense to her, it’s good to follow them, but if they don’t, it’s okay to rationalize instead of adhere.  ‘


I kind of hope my kids don’t read because I don’t mean this as a derogatory way of being, just reality.


For any Association plagued with the rationalizers instead of adherers, it would make sense within the rules themselves or in an occasional newsletter to explain the perceived need behind the rules so that owners understand why they exist. In fact, I might suggest that contrasting picture of a “pretty street” next to an “aesthetically challenging street” along with an explanation that street parking can create a dangerous risk to all drivers navigating the remaining narrow pathway or any neighborhood children chasing balls into the street might help educate the owners as to the benefits of adhering to rules that have a purpose. As I said, conversations with my children often lead to subjects for a blog, and thus, I have prepared a sister blog called “Spiraling Out Of Control-The Nightmare Party” posted this same day. Take a look.

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