J.S. from Chicago writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I was recently elected to my HOA board. Some residents have been inquiring about a rule that we have (in our rules and regulations) regarding parking motorcycles/Vespas in a parking spot WITH a car. So long as they fit within the lines and do not cause an issue for neighboring parking spots. The garage is enclosed and unit owners own their parking spots. The board is willing to change the rule, but does not want to be breaking some type of fire code, city (Chicago), or state (IL) law or ordinance by allowing this type of double parking. Do you know if there would be any issue with us removing this rule to allow people to park a car and motorcycle in one parking spot? Thanks!
Mister Condo replies:
J.S., welcome to the Board! As a rule, parking lots are owned by the association, a private organization, and are free to do with their parking areas as they see fit. City fire codes and ordinances are another matter altogether so before you go changing any association rules, I would encourage you to speak with a local expert (a fire marshal, perhaps) who can give you the lowdown on what, if any, ordinances you may be violating by changing the parking rules. If you read my column on any type of regular basis, you will see that parking issues are always a concern at condominiums and other high-density housing areas. Too many vehicles, too few spaces. Once you have the OK from local officials, think long and hard about making any change to the parking rules. Folks that purchased into your association do so with a certain set of rules in place. While I appreciate the desire of motorcycle and Vespa owners to park their bikes within their spaces, there was never an expectation that they should be able to do so when they purchased. Even well-intentioned residents will occasionally “go over the line” with a wheel or handlebar or make it difficult for a neighboring parking space to be easily accessed. My advice to you is to leave well enough alone and leave the parking rules as is. However, if the number of bike owners is a majority and the rule needs to change, so be it. Either way, I wish you the wisdom of Solomon and Good Luck!