SAN ANTONIO — A north-side homeowner said their car was wrongfully towed away from their driveway Tuesday night, despite a legal agreement with their homeowner’s association prohibiting it from penalizing the family on parking violations.
We looked into the claim.
"He was frantic; we were frantic," said Jennifer Holmquist, saying her son's car wasn't in the driveway on Wednesday morning. "I was about to report it stolen."
That was until she realized it was towed from her home. Holmquist and her family live in the Mountain Lodge neighborhood, and said they didn't receive advance warning.
"Nothing on the door, no phone call, no email."
She claims the Mountain Lodge Homeowner's Association allowed the towing company to impound the Toyota Camry.
"I was told by the towing company it was going to cost $300 to get it back," she said.
That's a price that Holmquist said she shouldn't have to pay. Her family currently has a moratorium with the HOA, written by its attorney, which grants the family 30 days to get into compliance with the HOA's parking policy "by either parking a car off site or widening our driveway."
The family has five cars and they said this is how they're usually parked: "All four wheels are on the driveway, but his bumper sticks out."
The HOA's attorney, Michael Thurman, said that because the car blocks the sidewalk, it's in violation.
However, a statement from Thurman to KENS 5 reads, "the towing is the result of miscommunication to the individual that tagged the vehicle and he was unaware of the moratorium on enforcement. Once the board was notified the car had been mistakenly towed, the board ordered its return at no expense to the owner or the association."
Still, Holmquist isn't taking the error lightly, saying, “I would like to be treated with respect by my HOA."
Here's the full statement from the attorney for the HOA:
"Mountain Lodge is a gated community with private streets. The regulation of parking dates back to 1999 when the original covenants, conditions and restrictions were imposed on all property within Mountain Lodge, including a prohibition of parking in the street, obstructing the flow of traffic and blocking or impairing the use of sidewalks. Unfortunately, many of the residents have more vehicles than they have parking spaces and in those cases, the Board understands the problem created and tries to work with homeowners to resolve the situation by allowing the homeowners to make additional improvements to their property to accommodate the extra vehicles.
The present situation dates back to February 2020. Since that date, there have been numerous courtesy and violation letters (by first class and certified mail) sent to Mr. and Mrs. Holmquist advising of the ongoing violations and of the necessity to make alternative parking arrangements or make modifications to their property to permit off-street parking for all their vehicles as do other residents in Mountain Lodge. Unfortunately, that has not occurred and the Camry was previously tagged for towing prior to this incident. The towing is the result of miscommunication to the individual that tagged the vehicle and he was unaware of the moratorium on enforcement. The vehicle was tagged on Sunday and advised the vehicle would be towed if not moved. As of Monday, the vehicle was not moved, remained blocking the sidewalk and the tag was visibly removed. There was no attempt by Mr. and Mrs. Holmquist to contact the Association about the mistake resulting in the vehicle being towed.
Once the Board was notified the car had been mistakenly towed, the Board ordered its return at no expense to the owner or the Association. Also, as a result of the braking system maintenance light being on, the Association has offered to tow the vehicle to a Toyota dealership of the owner's choice and any needed repairs to the system will be covered by the Association. The Board sincerely regrets this matter has escalated to the level it has and hopefully the problem can be resolved with the expansion of the owners driveway."
Here's a link to the HOA's parking and towing policy.