If you are a car person – or just want to be able to park your car in your own damned driveway – be sure you read the fine print before you buy a house in a neighborhood that has an HOA.
Or – worse – peculiar zoning ordinances.
But even if you do read them, it may not matter. Because the rules can change at any time – and when that happens, your choices boil down to obey – and pay.
For instance, this:
A local news affiliate in Cobb County, Georgia (see here) covered the saga of the Oviedo family, well-scrubbed and extremely middle-class. The family was targeted by local code enforcement bureaucrats (remember BTK?) for having “too many” cars parked in their own driveway.
How many is “too many”?
Four, as it turns out.
The county passed an “open space community” zoning ordinance after the Oviedo family bought their house. Faster than you can say ex post facto, it became an offense – punishable – for any homeowner to have more than two cars parked outside.
The idea being to “encourage” people to not own cars at all – by making it a hassle to own them.
It wasn’t that the cars were parked on the lawn.
Nor that they were parked on the street, in front of the house, on the road – which might be a reasonable restriction or at least, not an affront to the concept of privateproperty – because the street is public property.
The “open spaces” code applies to the Oviedos’ own driveway.
The one they paid for.
Probably having done so on the wild and crazy theory that they’d be able to actuallyuse the driveway they paid for.
Utopia Towels Shop Tow... Best Price: null Buy New $19.99 (as of 10:05 EST - Details) The cars were not unsightly “clunkers,” either. One might see reason in that. If we were talking, say, about a primered ’86 Monte Carlo perpetually perched on jackstands, rivulets of oil streaming down the driveway and into the street, open headers fired up at 11 at night.
Something like that, perhaps.
But the two over the limit cars – which belong to the Oviedo’s college-age children, home for the summer – are late-model, not primered and as well-scrubbed as the family itself. One car is a late-model VW Golf, the other a late model Toyota Corolla.
It wasn’t a case of an eyesore or nuisance or expired tags, even.
Just “too many” cars.
“Sustainability,” you see. That’s the subtext.
An anonymous tip from a local Clover sicced the code enforcement bureaucrats on the Oviedos. They immediately faced enormous fines for “noncompliance.” Which amounted to telling the Oviedos that their children could no longer spend summer break at their parents’ house.