Wesmere subdivision homeowners sue HOA over street parking

Residents say HOA didn't previously enforce street parking bylaws

By Nadeen Yanes - Reporter

OCOEE, Fla. - Two lawsuits have been filed against Ocoee's Wesmere subdivision over street parking. Residents say the HOA is now enforcing a street-parking ban that is in the bylaws but hasn't been enforced in nearly 30 years. 

"You can't go from allowing it or there is no enforcement to suddenly no exceptions," said Denise Harrison, who is upset about the parking ban. 

Harrison has a 22-year-old son in college who lives at home, bringing three cars to a family that soon will have four. 

"My almost 16-year-old is at high school but he will be allowed to drive in the summer and if we chose to get another car we will have nowhere to put it," Harrison added. 

Harrison said she knew the street parking ban was in the bylaws when she moved in 22 years ago, but said it has never been enforced. That was until now. 

A new HOA board was elected in 2017, she said, and it began warning residents about the enforcement. 

A copy of the letter explaining the change, "However to obtain and hopefully promote your property values, the Association needs to compel each owner's compliance with the Governing Documents." 

The letter to residents continued: "We understand that for reasons out of our control, parking restrictions may have not been performed regularly, uniformly, timely, and consistently in the past to the enforcement of the Governing Documents." 

However Harrison hopes there could be a resolution. 

"Can you please put a moratoriam until we get this resolved?" she asked. 

In the meantime, two residents have separately filed lawsuits in Orange County Civil Court against the Wesmere Maintenance Association. 

According to the lawsuit, a group who was against the parking ban gathered together and got 315 of the 565 homeowners to sign an amendment that would allow for restricted parking. Rick Leone, a resident and attorney who filed a lawsuit in the name of another homeowner said the HOA not accepting that amendment and continuing to tow cars is a violation of owners' rights.

"The petition was filed because the owners have legally adopted an amendment to the Declaration of Protective Covenants and Restrictions for Wesmere, but the Board has refused to acknowledge that such has been done," Leone wrote in an e-mail to News 6. "To the contrary, despite being informed that the amendment was adopted, the Board has continued to place warnings on vehicles which may, or may not, have been legally parked on the street if the provisions of the Amendment had been put in place, and has also towed a number of vehicles.  This is a violation of owners' property rights." 

Leone has filed an emergency injunction to get the enforcement to stop while the battle goes to court. 

However, another homeowner -- who says he's fearful of retaliation and didn't want to give his name -- called News 6 to say he supports the ban on street parking. In fact, he said he moved to Wesmere because of he didn't want street parking and doesn't want his HOA fees to pay for a court battle he disagrees with.

In the meantime, News 6 emailed each board director and the property manager for comment and haven't heard back.

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