So I hadn’t really planned on updating so soon, but I’ve got to based on some of the responses. First, I fished out my HOA rules. Here is the actual language: “Garage doors shall be kept closed except when automobiles are entering or leaving the garage. All vehicles shall be kept inside garages, except that vehicles may be parked on the driveway, but only if the Owner’s garage or garages are fully occupied with the owner’s vehicles.”
First, for those that said basically we agreed to these rules when we bought the house. This is true in principle, I guess. Unfortunately, there aren’t many (any?) developed residential areas that aren’t governed by an HOA. It’s just a fact that nearly everything here is a new development. Once the developer’s loan is paid off (15 years?), the community votes to keep or dissolve the HOA. Of course I could choose to drive further or pick a neighborhood that had bad schools or any number of other tradeoffs. What we did do though, is speak to many, many people in the various communities we looked at. The one that we selected seemed to have a very reasonable HOA.
Also, for all of you that have no sympathy- every state that each one of you live in has ridiculous laws on the books that are not enforced (yes, even non-herders in Idaho). What if you woke up one day and the town or state you live in started enforcing all of those ridiculous laws? Google it, some are unreal. Would I say, “well, you agreed to that when you decided to live there…” Of course not. Land of the free? My you-know-what. Not really looking for a debate on this one- just looking to stir some alternate thought.
Also, as some of you mentioned, it’s the selective enforcement that’s part of the trouble. Careful analysis of the actual language in the rules say that not only does my garage door have to be closed all the time, I’m never allowed to open it for any other reason, even to get my lawnmower out: “Garage doors shall be kept closed except when automobiles are entering or leaving the garage.” Forget woodworking- I’m not even allowed to walk into my own garage! Is this their intention? No. Could they enforce that too, that residents are not allowed to ever open the garage? Sure, by this language.
I’m also thinking since it says “fully occupied with owner’s vehicles,” I’m thinking I could buy 20 cheap broken bicycles and spread them around and be OK, since in Florida a bicycle is legally a vehicle.
Seems like every case that goes to court, the HOA loses (or maybe that’s the only ones posted since it’s more exciting). There was a similar local case in Odessa, FL that I found where the person’s F350 didn’t fit in the garage. Not only did the HOA lose, they had to pay his $187,000 legal fee. Of course I don’t have money like this sitting around to fight them. But do hundreds of us? Yes. Jeeze I really hope it doesn’t get to that.
OK. So what’s next? No, I can’t join the HOA. Between my job and kids/family, I don’t have the time. I also have no desire to deal with the other 98% of HOA issues- only this one. Also, while I don’t know any woodworkers, I know all the people on my street whose garages are used for other things. We’ve heard an 80% majority vote is needed to overturn this, and I do have time to rally support for this, even if we have to go knocking on doors. Wait- solicitation isn’t allowed either. Darn.