Proposed restrictions on parking rile area

NW Fire calls it safety issue, but some doubt need
2013-04-25T00:00:00Z Proposed restrictions on parking rile areaPhil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 25, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Some Agua Dulce neighborhood residents are upset about parking restrictions being considered by the area's homeowners association board of directors.

Saying it's following Northwest Fire District recommendations, the HOA board has proposed eliminating parking in cul-de-sacs and some narrow streets, while limiting street parking on other roads to one side of the street.

Residents Joan Feldman, Warren Cooper and Bob Blackett say the restrictions would be inconvenient, violate the HOA's conditions, covenants and restrictions, and lower their property values. They also feel they have been excluded from the process.

"I do feel kind of shut out," said Feldman, 60, who works for the University of Arizona's human resources department. "HOA board members work as volunteers, and I'm respectful of that commitment, but with what they're doing it might seem like one or two have gone their own way and are taking meetings and making decisions without our input."

Agua Dulce is in the Tucson Mountains foothills off West Sweetwater Drive near North Silverbell Road.

Northwest Fire spokeswoman Trina Motto said Deputy Fire Marshal Dennis Stiegleiter made the recommendations Feb. 25 after investigating a November complaint made by a resident who was concerned about emergency vehicle access in the neighborhood. The complaint was not related to a specific incident, Motto said.

Emergency vehicles, Motto said, require 20 feet of street clearance. Because parked vehicles can take up as much as 8 feet of street space, roads that are less than 28 feet wide are subject to parking restrictions.

Motto said Northwest Fire has left it up to the HOA to decide how to put the restrictions in place. Stiegleiter said Northwest Fire is authorized to issue citations if residents don't comply with the code.

Stiegleiter and Motto said Northwest Fire prefers to avoid punitive methods, leaving it to the HOA to set up detailed restrictions, including signage and towing, if necessary.

Agua Dulce HOA President Jo Ann Ripley declined to reveal the board's plans for enforcement.

"We're going to comply with whatever the fire marshal's requirements are," Ripley said, without elaborating.

But Northwest Fire is not providing detailed instructions.

"We are hoping that between the community and HOA, they will come up with their own plan to enforce parking," Motto said.

Cooper, former president of the HOA, said the parking restrictions are an overreaction to a single, unwarranted complaint.

"It's the only complaint we've had in 13 years this place has been in existence," said Cooper, a 75-year-old retiree. "Banning parking on some streets and restricting it to one side only is, to me, terribly drastic overkill. I would like to do nothing and leave the place the way it is. CC&Rs tell us we are allowed guest parking on the street for six hours out of the 24."

Since Cooper lives in a cul-de-sac, he's bitter that he would no longer be able to allow guests to park on the street in front of his house.

"I think it will hit property values," Cooper said. "To my understanding, I'm going to have to disclose the fact, if I sell the house, that I don't have any guest parking privileges."

Blackett, a 66-year-old retiree, said the board is addressing a problem that isn't there.

"I think it's overkill and just plain crazy," he said. "I see virtually nobody ever park on the streets in our neighborhood. Most are pretty good-sized houses with two- and three-car garages. We don't have a street parking problem. If you drive around other neighborhoods in suburban Tucson, there are lots with streets much narrower than ours and with no parking restrictions. I don't understand why Northwest Fire chose us."

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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