Stay on Top of Emerging Parking Issues
This week, we highlight three parking issues that cause problems in many community associations — the growing demand for disabled parking, legal restrictions on enforcement, and a new twist on commercial vehicles. We discuss the headaches they create for managers and boards and propose some solutions.
By the year 2030, all Baby Boomers will be older than age 65. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this will expand the size of the older population, with 20 percent of Americans at retirement age or older.
Not surprisingly, as the population ages, the percentage of people with disabilities climbs. This means community associations can expect to see a continued rising demand for disabled parking accommodations. “In older communities, we have more people requesting accommodating spaces than we have available,” says Marc Markel, a partner in RMWBHJ Law, which represents about 1,700 community associations in Texas.
“If there’s an easy way to give someone with a disability, especially one related to mobility, disabled parking, I recommend an association do that,” says Kevin Hirzel, managing member of Hirzel Law, PLC, a Michigan-based firm that works with community associations.
What if there aren’t any such spaces available? “You don’t have to do things that would violate the law,” he says, “and the association doesn’t have control over certain spaces because they’re limited common elements or deeded.”
Markel agrees: “If spaces are deeded, the board can only assign guest spots, and what do you do when you run out of those? On the other hand, if spaces are assigned, not deeded, they can keep assigning spots to owners with disabilities until they run out.”
The association might need to revoke an assignment of a space to a non-disabled resident. “If the association has the ability to assign exclusive use areas and someone needs a spot the board assigned someone else, it might be a reasonable accommodation to make that reassignment,” says Julie Perkins, an attorney with the Ohio firm Kaman & Cusimano, LLC, who focuses on community associations.
To learn more about how you can handle the increased demand for disabled parking, as well as two more hot-button parking issues, read our new article 3 Hot-Button Parking Issues for Community Associations.