J.N. from Middlesex County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Are you aware of any laws or regulations regarding the size of condo parking spaces? My two parking spaces are just under 8′ wide each, as are most of the spaces in the lot my neighbors and I share. As the community has repaved each of our other 7 parking lots, the space widths have been increased to 9′ over the years to accommodate larger vehicles like SUVs that didn’t exist 40 years ago when they were designed.
When our board created a plan to increase my lot’s parking spaces to 9′ wide last year, a slim majority of my neighbors opposed the plan because it would eliminate too much grass. The board decided to delay repaving the lot as a result, but the issue will come up again this year. I’ve read that Connecticut law governing commercial parking says any space under 9′ wide has to be marked “Compact” and anything under 8′ is illegal.
Our bylaws say, “The Association shall maintain upon the common property parking spaces in the ratio of not less than two per residence.” Since the bylaws don’t define the size of a parking space, is there any universal standard for what constitutes one?
Mister Condo replies:
J.N., I am not aware of any laws that regulate the size of condo parking spaces. I think that the commercial guidelines that you mention make sense but, as you know, condos are generally not considered commercial but rather private residential and are not likely to be governed by commercial guidelines. They are, however, governed by their own governing documents, which you have stated requires not less than two per residence. You go on to state that the by-laws do not define the size of a parking space so, again, this is a private matter.
Your Board of Directors is the governing body tasked with maintaining, protecting, and enhancing the common elements of the association, including the parking lots. Sounds to me like they have already made one decree whereby wider spaces were created. They can certainly do that again but they have to balance the desires of the folks who do not want to see more of the common ground paved in order to create additional square footage of parking. This is a purely political problem at this point. Your elected Board members can either do nothing and allow the parking to stay as it is or they can take a vote to try and pave more of the common area and increase the lot size and widen individual parking spaces. This is where your vote counts. Be sure and make this an election issue and see how many of your fellow unit owners feel as you do. If enough feel the parking space widening is the way to go, your Board just might vote in favor to make it happen. Good luck!