Homeowners' association sues residents for parking their pickup in their driveway

File Photo © Ricardo Garza - Fotolia

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A homeowners' association in upstate New York is suing two of its residents for parking their pickup truck in the driveway in front of their home.

Syracuse.com reports that the Kimry Moor Homeowners' Association, in the town of Manlius, filed a lawsuit against residents David and Arna Orlando in Onondaga County Supreme Court, for parking their black 2014-model Ford F-150 pickup in their driveway. The lawsuit seeks an injunction preventing the couple from continuing to park the truck there.

Paul Curtin, the HOA's lawyer, told Syracuse that the lawsuit “is a matter of restrictive covenants, and interpretation of those covenants.”

The HOA covenants, available here in .pdf form, say that “No motor vehicle shall be parked or stored in the open on any lot or portion of the Common Area, except private passenger automobiles, which are currently registered and operable.” (The word “except” is bold-printed in the covenant itself.) In Kimry Moor, homeowners do not actually own the driveways in front of their homes; those are Association property, meaning the passenger-vehicle-only parking restrictions apply to them.

Curtin, speaking on behalf of the HOA, said that a pickup truck “is not a passenger vehicle by definition” (though he did not specify exactly which definition of “passenger vehicle” this refers to).

Passenger vehicle?

But Tom Cerio, the Orlandos' attorney, points out that the truck is registered with the state as a passenger vehicle, not a commercial vehicle. In papers filed before the court, Cerio and the Orlandos say that the truck is a “private, passenger-type, pleasure automobile.”

David Orlando also says that he is not the only one to park a pickup truck in his driveway; various neighbors do the same. Syracuse.com noted that “This past week a Syracuse.com/Post-Standard reporter saw a full size pickup with cap, a large van and a sports utility vehicle parked [in] other driveways in Kimry Moor.”

The HOA first filed suit against the Orlandos in August 2013, though Cerio said it is still in discovery, with more depositions to come. The Orlandos are countersuing for an unspecified amount in damages.

According to the Kimry Moor Homeowners' Association website's home page, the community “consists of 84 independent and individually owned living units with a pleasant and diverse common area to enjoy walking, sitting or activities,” and that “The Board of Directors consists of 9 homeowners elected by the homeowners and establishes policies consistent with the Declaration and ByLaws [sic] of the Association. They also collect the yearly maintenance fees from the homeowners and disburses [sic] these moneys as needed.”

There's no mention of how much of those moneys are needed to pay Paul Curtin's attorney's fees, but regardless of whether the HOA wins or loses its lawsuit against the Orlandos, Kimry Moor residents should probably budget for an increase in their HOA fees next year.

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