Winter Springs HOAs driven to fight on-street parking


Article Courtesy of The Seminole Chronicle

By Jeff Gardenour

Published June 13, 2013

Citing real estate values, public safety and the potential for blight, the Tuscawilla Homeowners Association and other area homeowners are urging the city of Winter Springs to reverse its moratorium of the on-street parking ban.

In a City Commission workshop conducted on April 15, dozens of residents representing THOA and other homeowner associations voiced their dissatisfaction with Resolution 2013-06, which temporarily suspended the prohibition of on-street parking on certain roadways within the city.

The resolution, passed in March, allowed the city to conduct a planning study on the issue for the Commission's future consideration. The six-month moratorium went into effect after numerous residents began to object to the city-wide regulation of on-street parking, Winter Springs Mayor Charles Lacey said.

"The workshop was an appropriate response to city policy changes being pursued without benefit of public input," THOA President Ted Johnson said. "Given the impact upon the residents of Tuscawilla and other areas within our city, a workshop was an important first step in providing feedback to the commissioners."

THOA, a voluntary organization that represents the interests of approximately 4,600 families in Tuscawilla, expressed concerns regarding the existing moratorium and the desire to exempt Tuscawilla from future changes that would permit on-street parking in their community, Johnson said.

Currently, three communities - Oak Forest, North Orlando Terrace and two units in Mount Greenwood - previously met the requirements to allow on-street parking after petitioning the city to opt out of the parking ban.

"The THOA and other mandatory HOAs within Tuscawilla do not have police powers regarding on-street parking," Johnson said. "The current ordinance prohibiting on-street parking has been in place for over 30 years and we wish to continue enforcement of the existing ordinance in our community."

Johnson said a number of factors influenced the THOA's decision to protest the moratorium at the workshop, including real estate values.

"Real estate agents addressing the commissioners during the workshop argued that on-street parking is a deterrent to potential home buyers," Johnson said. "These real estate agents have extensive experience with property sales in the Winter Springs area and specifically within the Tuscawilla Community.

"With property values projected to rise between 4 and 5 percent this year, the THOA is opposed to any action by the city that would have a negative impact on increased property values," Johnson said. "City Ordinance 2005-18 addresses the city's responsibility to maintain the enhancement of the visual appearance of our neighborhoods."

Board members from two homeowner associations - THOA and the Glen Eagle HOA - also cited public safety as a key reason why local homeowners associations should be exempt from the moratorium.

"No-parking ordinances like the one in Winter Springs have been hailed by many police and city officials across the U.S. as being a best practice to reduce crime," Glen Eagle HOA vice president Jeff Kazaka said. "Winter Springs has among the lowest crime rates in all of Central Florida, and the city's no-parking ordinance is likely a contributing factor."

Kazaka said a spreadsheet presented by a speaker at the workshop showed Winter Springs as having the lowest total crime risk among select cities in the area, including Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Winter Springs, Oviedo and Heathrow, and the lowest total crime rate per 100,000 incidences among area cities Winter Springs, Casselberry, Longwood, Oviedo, Sanford, Winter Park, Maitland, Lake Mary and Altamonte Springs, according to 2011 information from

"A cursory search of the Internet produced an abundance of articles from major newspapers spanning 40 years quoting police chiefs and mayors citing a local parking ban as resulting in a considerable reduction in crime," Kazaka said.

Re-implementing the parking ban also may help offset residents' lack of knowledge concerning parking regulations in the city, Johnson said. "While state law and city ordinances regulate how vehicles may be parked on the street, the truth is that most citizens are not familiar with these regulations," he said.

"When vehicles are parked on a curve, parked too far away from the curb or parked in such a manner which restricts traffic flow, public safety is jeopardized," Johnson said. "The argument will be to educate the citizens, but, to my knowledge, there are no plans in place to begin this process. In an emergency situation, police and fire department personnel must have unrestricted access to our homes."

"[The city is] currently gathering relevant data, and reviewing and evaluating the on-street parking issue in order to provide the Commission with the best and most complete data possible for their consideration," City Manager Kevin Smith said.

Information will be presented on a future Commission agenda prior to the expiration of the moratorium, Smith said.