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Subject: Possible Parking Solutions for Condominiums/Condos
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BryanF1
(Florida)

Posts:3


04/17/2017 9:39 PM  
In our case, our condominium used to be a hotel in downtown Orlando and was converted to a 128 unit condominium. Parking was in a gated area on two floors. In addition, there were 6 spaces in the very front of the building where the hotel had valet parking or pickup/drop off. The developer had sold these six spaces to owners on a first-come/first serve basis. The result was that there was absolutely no place for guests to park except off-site. This is a work in progress, but I will share with you what our Board has done to remedy the problem.

1. We managed to creatively find 6 more spaces inside our garage plus a few extras that helped us solve some disputes that residents had against a developer... like an individual that had a "stairwell" for their spot. It looked much better on the floor plan than in reality!

2. We had to convince the owners of the spots to take the spots inside the garage. For most, it was a no-brainer because it was in a secured area and protected from the elements. However, we had one individual "change their mind" after several years. Lesson learned... get property transfers done formally through an attorney. We eventually rectified the situation by buying the space from the owner sometime later.

3. Once we had our 6 wonderful spaces in the front of the building, everything was perfect... not! We had owners who would park their cars from inside the garage in one of the front spaces and literally "park" it there for days and even weeks. They then allowed their friends to come and park in their spot in the garage. As you know, "no good deed goes unpunished!"

4. I did research on parking meters, the original solution to ration parking. Unfortunately, not everyone plays fair, so the implementation of a meter was the best idea at the time. By charging a nominal fee, it would ensure that only those who needed the parking would pay and use it. We weren't trying to make money, but merely charge enough to give everyone a fair chance to use the spaces. Unfortunately, the meter was around $5,000, so it was a tough sell to the Board. After several years, we did pay it off, but unfortunately, by that time, the display was scratched and impossible to read. The battery kept dying after only several months, the merchant fees and wireless fees for pay by phone started to take its toll on our Association. The meter was down on a regular basis, so enforcement was sporadic and we either had everyone parking there for free or nobody parked there at all. It was a complete disaster! I ended up writing a database on some free web platform that we used to track vehicles and issue tickets based on the number of violations, but the guards that were working at our building didn't use it effectively because it wasn't a very polished program (I had thrown it together in an afternoon).

5. After years of our management company screwing around with the meter company to no avail, I finally set out to solve the problem. You can usually find a solution on the internet. In this case, I tried to search for an app on my phone. I was looking for a parking enforcement solution, but all the apps that came up seemed to be tied to companies that only worked with municipalities and big parking lots... we were too small for them. I didn't give up. I tried a few more before I came across "Pango." They were agreeable to taking on our condo Association, even though they hadn't done that sort of thing before - I love startups! It was an app on the iPhone billed as a mobile payment solution. However, the system allows you to see what cars are currently paying for parking by parking spots or zones. We chose to have one zone across our 6 spots for simplicity. When a guest pulls up to the parking spot, they see the sign (see attachment). They download the app, register their vehicle and a form of payment. Finally, they choose the zone where they want to park (could be a space number) and hit a Start button. In our case, we chose the stop and start method, so nobody would get towed for coming back 15 minutes late. Our goal was not to tow residents or even strangers. The nice thing is that Pango support would give the drivers parking their cars a benefit of the doubt if they forgot to stop the app. After about three times, they would probably say that they need to pay or quit using the parking spaces. In just one short month, we were off and running. We had rates set at $1.00 per hour from 8:00 AM - 11:59 PM. We made it $0.50 per hour from midnight until 8:00 AM, so someone could park their car from 8 PM until 8 AM for just $8.00. Keep in mind that we are in the very heart of downtown Orlando by Lake Eola and there are no cheaper parking spots, especially in the front of a building. Of course, there is always street parking, but you better not forget to get there at 8:00 AM to move your car or that free spot just became very expensive!

Results: We went from losing about $120 per month in fees and expenses for the parking meter to making $10,000 per year! On just 6 parking spaces. if you notice at the bottom of the sign in the attachment, you will see that we actually attached it right onto the old meter! It became a very expensive signpost. Our only problem now is getting tow trucks to come to the premises in a timely manner.

What's Next? We are now trying to work with Pango to rent out individual spaces inside our garage such that we could split the profits between the owners of the unused spaces (on a daily, weekly, monthly basis) with the Association. We are also going to start implementing enforcement of all of our parking inside and out with a ticketing system from Pango (I'll post more after we implement). We also plan to get rid of our decals and use Pango to register all of our owners, renters and guests vehicles. Finally, we have ordered two Barnacle devices which are a modern take on the boot solutions. It is ingenious and deserving of its own post. I am cautiously optimistic about being able to use the Barnacle to channel even more revenues toward our Association, while also being able to make fines more "reasonable" and if there is a mistake, the Association won't be out money if a refund must be issued due to a mistake on the part of our security guards.

If you are interested in talking to be more about your specific parking scenario, I'd love to give you a quick synopsis on what I would probably do to solve your problem. I wish it hadn't taken so many years to get to where we are today, but it was a learning process. One thing I have learned is that there is always a solution to your Association problems. Technology is usually the key ingredient in any solution. Controlling your parking situation is a critical step to maintaining a secure environment. You'd be surprised how many problems you will solve once you get your parking under control!

Best of luck!

Bryan Fangman

PS - it wouldn't let me load the image of the sign even though it was only 173kb
BryanF1
(Florida)

Posts:3


04/17/2017 9:45 PM  
OK... I just read the posting rules and I am guilty of mentioning my Association, my name, and some products. This was my first post and I would hate to have it deleted. Is there a way for me to edit a previous post?
BobD4
(up north)

Posts:904


04/17/2017 10:21 PM  
BryanF1 Fla : I wonder what impact revenue generating ( from the 6 'deeded' front parking spaces ) has done to your taxable/NFP exemptions status / whatever ?

You may want to think carefully about wheel immobilzers. On public streets they sometimes generate some wild scenarios . . .

You have certainly handled the Visitor Parking issues in an interesting way.
GreggT
(Florida)

Posts:60


04/18/2017 5:17 AM  
The revenue generated just goes to offset expenses or possibly a reduction in fees, not a big deal. I would advise against immobilizers, they can create some very hairy moments for sure!
BobD4
(up north)

Posts:904


04/18/2017 7:54 AM  
Posted By BryanF1 on 04/17/2017 9:39 PM
. . .We weren't trying to make money, but merely charge enough to give everyone a fair chance to use the spaces. Unfortunately, the meter was around $5,000 . . . . . . the guards that were working at our building didn't use it effectively because it wasn't a very polished program.

5. "Pango" . . . an app on the iPhone billed as a mobile payment solution. . . . We are now trying to work with Pango to rent out individual spaces inside our garage such that we could split the profits between the owners of the unused spaces (on a daily, weekly, monthly basis) with the Association.

We are also going to start implementing enforcement of all of our parking inside and out with a ticketing system from Pango. . . Finally, we have ordered two Barnacle devices ... I am cautiously optimistic about being able to use the Barnacle to channel even more revenues toward our Association, while also being able to make fines more "reasonable". Controlling your parking situation is a critical step to maintaining a secure environment. You'd be surprised how many problems you will solve once you get your parking under control ! . . .




BryanF1 FLA Visitor, transient & other parking issues usually require such perseverance & skillsets that merely your persistance alone deserves a lot of credit.

You may want to take a look at security consequences, legal & insurance surcharge issues raised by admitting non-occupant pay parking into interior parking areas.

Some jurisdictions like mine would also hear dissenters argue - from a strong legal position - that once mere 'asset control' starts looking like revenue-generation, the activity ceases to be a legal involvement by association or condo corporations. The issues also raised may include visitor vehicle damage / claims arising from commercial bailment by pay-parkers or their subrogated insurers. Your scenario may not have reached such a point, but it may be worth reviewing with counsel.
BrianR11
(Florida)

Posts:2


04/19/2017 5:00 PM  
Great discussion! Our community has also had issues with our free guest parking, and I'd like to share our experience.

Years ago, a previous board hired a towing company to patrol inside our gated community. The result was a disaster, as it benefitted the vendor who engaged in predatory enforcement. Not to mention the heavy truck rumbling through every night. Needless to say, we got rid of them quickly.

Our guest spaces continued to fill up, mostly with residents who knew that overnight guest parking was not being enforced. The new board began to seek out options, but we found a dearth of good options for our situation (no dedicated security personnel or attendant, free parking).

Being a professional software engineer, I volunteered to write the cloud-based software and database. Our board president volunteered to be our nighttime attendant. We have 38 guest spaces for 240 townhomes, so the patrol takes him about 15 - 20 minutes on foot. The software was simple and easy to use, so adoption by our residents went well, though we put in extra effort during the initial rollout.

I'm very proud to say that in the past 4 months we have solved our guest parking issue without towing a single vehicle -- and at minimal cost and effort. Our guiding principle has been that towing isn't good for our residents and isn't good for our guests. Towing only benefits the towing companies.

It can be done but takes some commitment! I'd love to hear other experiences, as I'm certain there are many associations with similar issues.

Thanks,

Brian
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1319


04/21/2017 3:36 AM  
The "cloud" is a server in Mumbai, correct?
BrianR11
(Florida)

Posts:2


04/21/2017 8:41 AM  
Geno,

I use a single Google Cloud Platform g1-small compute engine instance located in the us-central1-b zone to keep my costs down. Network latency is low and both the application and database tiers reside on the same instance.

I don't want to go into too much detail, but suffice to say that the system runs well with minimal care and feeding since Google manages most of the infrastructure.

Hope this helps!

Brian
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:1319


04/21/2017 5:35 PM  
Not really, but thanks for the info. Cloud schmowd.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:4075


04/23/2017 12:43 PM  
Skimming the OP and replies, I see a lot off thoughtful ideas; hard word work too.

We're a high rise with underground garage levels with deeded parking Spaces. Residents have assigned stickers. Residents are not permitted to park in our 16 Visitor Parking spaces on P-1, which are really needed in our downtown setting. But occasionally a resident will. We do have 24/7 security and one eventually notices the breach and phones the resident, who moves the car.

We have the correct signs posted for towing, but have rarely had to resort to that.
VanessaG
(California)

Posts:1


05/29/2017 4:02 PM  
Hi Bryan,

This is an interesting solution and would love to ask you some questions about it. I'm new to the forum and wondering if emails are listed?

Thanks
Vanessa
BryanF1
(Florida)

Posts:3


05/29/2017 11:03 PM  
Hi Vanessa,

I'd be happy to answer your questions. I not sure how to contact people on the forum. Feel free to contact me at fangmanb at yahoo dot com. Perhaps you have to ask your questions on the forum here? I'm new to the site myself. It would be nice to be able to send private messages at least.

Bryan Fangman
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > Possible Parking Solutions for Condominiums/Condos



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