Neighbour Using Plastic Bollards to Occupy Public Parking

Wanting to get some opinions on this situation which has been developing for some time. The house opposite to mine was sold in mid 2019 to an owner-builder, who proceeded to knock the previous dwelling down and build two townhouses. As of today, they are still building the properties, however for the past 9-12 or so months they have been living in one of the townhouses, and parking numerous work utes on the street (and not always using their own driveaways).

Our street is relatively busy, being inner-city Melbourne and off a main road. My side is 2P by day/permit parking during the week, and the other (theirs) is unrestricted parking. During their construction process, my neighbour setup a number of plastic bollards on the street, consuming about 3 car spaces on what is normally unrestricted parking.

From time to time they have used this space for rubbish skips, building materials etc, however for the majority of what is nearly two years now, those bollards have effectively sectioned off those spaces for their personal use. Am I in the wrong for feeling disgruntled? Often randoms will park on the street, as we are also a short stroll from a train station, consequently there have been many nights where I have to park away and walk 100-200m back to my home, even with my council permit, however most people will naturally avoid parking around bollards, and so they effectively never have this issue with parking right outside their house.

I don't believe their bollards have been council sanctioned, but I don't actually know. I don't park in them (nor do my neighbours) due to any potential situation such as them getting a supply delivery, having tradies on site etc, in which I am understanding and really have no qualms working around them to help facilitate their construction, although over the space of what is almost two years now it's become quite frustrating, particularly due to their drawn out build, which is quiet most days and weeks, but still unpredictable.

Are there laws relating to this? For awhile I've just hoped for the house to be completed rather than confront the neighbour or inquire with the council, however at this rate I have no clue when that may finally happen.

Comments

  • +90 votes

    Contact your local council and find out, maybe make a complaint.

    • +127 votes

      They tried that, but the council asked "What did OzBargain say when you asked them?"

      • +39 votes

        circular reference error

        • -1 vote

          What would Jesus Do?

          • +1 vote

            @Kangal: Cars and therefore carparks weren't invented around the time of Jesus. He'd turn the other cheek anyway, the softy. It's his dad with the fire and brimstone attitude you gotta worry about :p

          • +2 votes

            @Kangal: Smite the fockers with great vengeance and furious anger!

    • +88 votes

      Their is no 'their' spot either, and that is what OP is on about.

      • -10 votes

        They may have a permit to occupy the space while constructing.

        • +48 votes

          In which case the council will change the parking signs to 'Work Zone' '7am-5pm Mon-Sat' or something to that effect.

          • -3 votes

            @Mechz: Either way, refer to council first.

            If council will do nothing then OP has the option to suck it up, or remove the bollards and park there - but OP doesn’t seem to want to park there in case of retaliation (but I might be reading to much into it)

          • +13 votes

            @Mechz: No, they wouldn't necessarily - Well they don't in Qld anyhow. I've worked for a construction company and the proper process to do what OP's neighbour is doing is to get a temporary road closure (and/or verge or footpath closure permit)… Yes, it's still called that if only over part of the road or street parking.

            To get one, the builder submits a traffic management plan associated with their properly approved building works which if okay gets approved, pay the fees, then it's up to them to put out compliant signs, bollards and the likes using someone that has done the accredited traffic management training course as they see fit to control the traffic around the approved work zone. It's usually not done by Council themselves so can vary a bit how it is done.

            In Qld Councils charge per day for this to disincentivise taking a long time. It gets quite expensive over a long project. So I'm guessing the neighbour doesn't have it in place.

            The other interesting law about this is that permit and sometimes also the building permit would have stipulated a timeframe of currency to complete construction and working hours. they should not be bollarded outside of these hours without a closure permit in place they pay for that allows this. If they started in mid-2019, they may be coming to the end of a 2 year timeframe to complete… Not sure, it would vary by jurisdiction. However complaining to Council about that would mean they have it on record not to extend a timeframe if they keep dragging it out longer.

            Therefore Council should be able to enforce the bollards removal if they don't have an approved traffic management plan, and give them a hurry along if a timeframe was in the permit process.

        • -2 votes

          not sure why you are negged, this is common during construction projects.

          • +5 votes

            @MrFrugalSpend: not sure why I was negged about not sure why someone else was negged - I've got permits to use carparks during my work in construction in real life, they do exist. So, pointed out a fact that permits exist so its probably unfair to just neg someone for saying they MAY have a permit - we may not agree with it, and yes its likely they DON'T have a valid permit, but you can't just assume they don't. Ask Council is good advice.

            Haters got to hate I guess. Come out and provide some comment and give reasoning negging cowards!! I upvoted 'battler's the neighbour doesn't own the 'spot'/road comment - so who knows what the problem is?

            •  

              @MrFrugalSpend: Don't worry, you'll get used to it, people neg just for the sake of it without much critical thinking most times because the answer/response doesn't align with their world view or inherent biases. I get it all the time, sometimes just for my alias and others just cos…

              PS. Agree that the permit can be acquired legally from the council but from what OP is stating seems (if they have one) is used inappropriately and should be revoked.
              OP, wish you the best outcome as I hate people usurping parking spots for their own (much like ppl who use disabled parking/pram spots @ shopping centres who have no ailments nor prams/childers).

        •  

          you're right, the councils are also pretty slack at putting up these signs

  • +47 votes

    Wait patiently until the build finishes, and then buy 3 additonal second hand cars to park there..

  • +11 votes

    I’m surprised you have not contacted council? First step for sure.

    • +11 votes

      Never - OzCouncilRegs is first stop these days.

    • +4 votes

      What would the council know that the ozbargain community doesn't?

      •  

        …and here we give pretty good traffic advice too, if I say so myself ; )

    • +10 votes

      Well, there is no “their” or “your” side when it comes to on street parking. It’s a public asset and anyone is entitled to park there.

      Secondly, OP said they were near a train station so depending on time of day they come home, they may not have many options. Also in many councils near stations they make one side public parking and the other permit zone for residents. It may just be that on OPs “side” it is a free for all and the other side is for residents.

  • +41 votes

    I'm really surprised you haven't just removed the bollards…#AITA?

    Seriously though, related vent: I live in an apartment with 3 visitor parks (labelled as such) in the underground carpark…and as i'm sure happens in most people's apartments, the visitor parks are just used for the 1st residents to stick their 2nd cars there. It really gives me the shits, because whenever these 3 particular residents want to head out, they will go to the effort of moving their 2nd car into that carpark so as to protect the space! We have ample outdoor parking as well, so it's not same as OP

    The other day when i came home, i took one of the spaces, and had resident knock on my door at 9pm to tell me that i was in "his spot" because he always parks there and has done so for 6yrs. i told him that if he could prove to me on a piece of paper that the park belonged to him and explain to me why he was the ONLY resident that had an additional carpark allocated to him, I would move my car and never park it there again. He hasn't come back…

    • +19 votes

      he always parks there and has done so for 6yrs

      He's luck you're not on the strata committee. That admission of guilt should lead to a fine. (Does your strata not fine people for abusing the visitor spots? They should!)

    • +18 votes

      The underlying problem is that developers never provide enough parking. This is true for apartments as it is for office blocks. Not so bad in the CBD where many not bring a vehicle in, but out in the burbs it is unforgivable.

      • +28 votes

        And the underlying problem there is that, on local councils, the liberal party councillors are ALL developers.

        So when a whiny developer comes along and says "the law isn't fair! I bought 2 million dollars of land to build 20 million dollars of units on, but now I have to build enough underground carparking to handle a realistic amount of residents and visitors cars!?!? That means I have to build 2 stories of carpark instead of two, and that costs me a bit extra! How am I going to lord it over everyone if my profit is a measly 15 million dollars instead of 16 million!?!?!? Make an exception for me! Approve my dodgy building proposal!!!"

        …then unless labour and the greens have a majority in your local council area, you'll get grossly inadequate parking.

        • -2 votes

          Developers give money to either party. Some developers are ALP, some are liberal.
          Ever wonder why one government favours a major development, the opposition campaigns against it, and when they get in ditch it and then do something quite similar?
          It all comes down to which developer is aligned with which political party. The old developer loses out until next time, and the new developer gets on the gravy train until the new government loses power.
          The outcome for you, the naive and innocent punter, is exactly the same regardless of who is in power, with only minor differences in how the political class and their connected mates screw you over.
          And it will make bugger all difference to the parking issue. Both parties seek to minimise parking to save money. They even dress it up as an environmental benefit!
          In my state the ALP have pretty much been in power for all but five of the last thirty years. They are the same. And I am not silly enough to believe if the LNP got it would miraculously change.

          It is about time people stopped being so tribal about their politics and opened their eyes.

          • +14 votes

            @entropysbane: You're confusing state and federal government with local government.

            I had a friend at church who joined the liberal party and got elected to council, because he is conservative and strongly believes in what the liberal party claims to stand for.

            He ended up quitting in frustration, because every single other liberal councilman was a developer trying to get around essential regulations like minimum parking spaces for apartment buildings. None of them cared anything about conservative values, or economic efficiency, or free markets, or small government, or any of that (though they'd occasionally talk it up whenever the public could hear).

            They all just voted for bulldozing parks, selling off valuable/necessary/appreciating public assets, skirting environmental/congestion regulations, and whatever else funnelled money into their corrupt little schemes.

            There was one developer on the labor side. He'd joined the liberals first, but he wasn't white, so the liberals left him out of all the real discussions and decision making. So he just joined labor instead.

            The rest of the labour and greens councillors were just trying to run the council efficiently for the good of the community. Sure, a couple of them liked a a bit of self-aggrandising too - but the liberals were worse in that respect, anyway.

            • -3 votes

              @ItsMeAgro: Oh ,yes, worse at the local level, if that is possible. But again, even in your story the developer switched parties to get what he wanted. And blamed racism as a get out of goal card. But it was still about his development wasn’t it? Sounds like a fight over which developer and which development and which party itself didn’t matter. State shenanigans writ small.
              As for the greens approving more car parks, or any real development at all besides closing roads and using rates to fund writers festivals? Bewahahahahha!

        • +4 votes

          Err, no.
          You (the general public) all don't want to pay the extra money for the additional carparks. The building's developments don't stack up. That's all there is to it. It's about the customers and what you will pay for. Which someone has to assess feasibility and take a risk building.

          Carparks cost a LOT of money, not "a bit extra"…. Way more than you get for them except maybe in a CBD area where you can charge $50+ per day.
          It can very easily make projects unviable to provide two parks for every unit plus visitors. You may be building an extra 2-3 levels of basement which doesn't stack up in the conditions.

          Either they take up lots of land/airspace which is expensive and opportunity cost means you lose usable / saleable unit space or it's basement. Basements are expensive - It makes it harder to do ventilation, fire compliance (you have to sprinkler the carparks as they are a fire source when over 40 vehicles), the more you go you add more ramping … and let's not forget you need to get all the structural elements back up to a suspended concrete transfer slab on the surface with column sizes etc to support the building the more you go. Depends a lot on ground conditions whether you are boring into rock or otherwise doing excess de-watering with a wet basement that floods, makes it harder to do safe shoring for deep excavations without collapsing the ground around, prevention of damage to surrounding properties from undermining lateral support, and anchoring / holding back the surrounds etc. It adds months to the construction time to dig down more (the biggest factor in increased overheads / preliminaries and returns - time is money) and lots of jobs lose money before they get out of the ground. Construction companies operate on 5-10% margins so you can blow the lot with problems early in the basement. They also consume power 24/7 for ventilation of exhaust fumes, requirements for passive lighting, sump pumps for wet basements…. Carparks are a money pit for development and body corporates thereafter.

          As for your politics comments - they aren't quite on the right track either. Many lefty / greenie governments promote not having enough carparks as it incentivises people to use more public transport and cycling etc (true story).
          Similarly, flip the topic around and the same lefty people will be whinging about affordability of housing and banging on about the labour party needing to do something about it who are now apparently bashing 'developers' and the liberal party as having to provide more carparks as a law!?! lol - the good old cake and eat it too bloggers!

          Developers are not some evil beast - I work in the industry. They actually make a lot of things happen in really good ways in our community - lots of really nice built environment outcomes. Most like to do nice creative and architectural things wherever they can be afforded for the target market. They are funded often by managed funds, which often includes your super money, and they just have key return metrics they have to meet to get things to proceed (e.g. 15% returns for the risk) which is good for the economy, affordable housing supply and jobs and built probably everywhere you live and work -… "oh no, so horrible!"

          • +1 vote

            @MrFrugalSpend: C'mon negative voter - take me on in a debate - I dare you. I do this for my job and I know it backwards - so let's hear your bullsh!t reasons why I am apparently wrong !?

        • +2 votes
        • +1 vote

          Now I'm mostly a Labor voter, but you are crazy if you think Labor councillors are not at least as easily bought as Liberal ones. That's local government for you.

          Local Greens are usually honest (if often incompetent) but will typically oppose ANY extra parking - this is planet-destroying CARS we are talking about.

      •  

        Opposite in mine, heaps of empty car spaces, but with only sufficient bike parking for 16 bikes in a building with over a thousand residents there's a shortage in that regard.

        That is the CBD though - you don't really need a care here at all (although I've been unable to convince the wife of that).

    • +7 votes

      To add to this: we all have 2 carpark spots under the building (they're tandem, i.e nose to tail). Most people including myself have a storage shed or something in their 2nd carpark space so they can only park 1 car in there. The guy who complained has like 4 cars, so he tries to get all of them downstairs, which is BS.

      I want to add, i don't have an issue with the residents using the visitor parking since there is stacks of parking outside, but i think we should all be fairly using them and sharing them around. This whole "deliberately shuffle my car #2 so that my car #1 doesn't have to park on the empty street directly outside the building" is insane. And then to say that it's "his spot"…

    • +1 vote

      nicely done. Love your work

  • +25 votes

    Builders always do this around construction sites. They think they have extra rights to the parking than anyone else.

    Many near me at least have a laminated sign that says “from 7am” or something.

    They’re very rarely council sanctioned. If they were, council would have put in temporary official parking signs that have “construction zone 7am-5pm” across the three spaces (something I have seen a fair bit too).

    Just move them and park there.

    • +4 votes

      Hi, worked in the industry here - often they do have the rights in their traffic management plans submitted to Council for approval as part of the works.
      Which they pay for as part of the approval process. I've paid for them and properly attained them several times. Council don't put out signs in our area - its up to us to put in something in our traffic management plan to communicate to the public. E.g. bollards, signs etc.

      •  

        Traffic management plan would not be for a year for a small residential build. The Council ought to be able to provide a copy of the TMP to confirm that the builder is operating in accordance (or otherwise).

  • +7 votes

    I don't believe their bollards have been council sanctioned, but I don't actually know.

    Only one way to find out……

  • +1 vote

    Am I in the wrong for feeling disgruntled?

    Does feel like a selfish neighbour, when you have to park elsewhere when they hog those spaces.

    Like others said, check with council. Good luck!

  • +1 vote

    Buy a 2nd hand bomb of Gumtree with plates, park it between the bollards. Problem solved.

      • +17 votes

        Why not apply for the proper permit if you are working professional?

      • +2 votes

        If they have a legal right to cordon it off, fine. If not, why should strangers effectively be disadvantaged so that random people can make money on a private construction project?

  • +31 votes

    It would be a shame if the plastic bollards kept disappearing every night…

    • +2 votes

      Exactly . I know of a new no standing sign turning up outside a property and it disappeared overnight and 5 years later it never came back :)

    • +3 votes

      show up next day on gumtree, cash on collection.

    • +3 votes

      Even better, move them around so you can park there. That way the spot will be reserved for your car, win-win! ;)

      If your neighbour complains just play dumb and say what a great idea to help residents park and prevent outsider train commuters using "your" collective parking spots. Then thank them for the idea!

    •  

      Unfortunately, whist advocating for vigilante justice, I believe that most construction and new builds have CCTV installed.

      • +3 votes

        I believe this is why masks and hoodies were invented ;)

  • +8 votes

    To add to the above call the council, see if the houses has an occupancy certificate. They shouldn't be living in the property if it's still under construction.

    •  

      That wouldn’t help with the bollard issue though.

      • +26 votes

        It's not about the bollards, it's about sending a message

        The Joker, The Dark Night, 2008

        • +8 votes

          The Joker, The Dark Night, 2008

          I enjoyed this so much that I will excuse the spelling mistake.

      •  

        If you read my post, I did also refer to the bollard matter.

        Kicking out the residents would be icing on the cake.

  • +74 votes

    Unless you're willing to discuss the issue with the neighbour, then the matter is best handled by Council.

    I had a neighbour that did similar and would come bang on my door whenever i parked in front of her house and order me to move my legally parked car. Same thing as OP, in that it was unrestricted street parking.

    She too used bollards to reserve the area and on a couple of occasions I would relocate them to the end of the street and watch her carry them back. But still, the bollards would come back. I so wanted to throw them away or donate them to nearby building sites but just played the waiting game.

    Many of my neighbours had stories about being yelled at by her and called names for parking there. It's funny because we neighbours had this in common so it was always a funny talking point.

    One day she came to my front door and yelled at me that unless I move my car, she'll issue me a ticket as she worked at the Council.

    She worked as a crossing officer so she had no authority whatsoever to issue an infringement. She didnt know this, but I worked for the neighbouring Council that I/we lived in, and work in the department that deals with solution finding, so know all the rules pertaining to this issue.

    I finally had the opportunity to deal with the issue officially and in a manner that wouldn't implicate me.

    I wrote to my personal Council's CEO complaining that one of their crossing supervisors that lives at X address is misrepresenting Council and/or using her positon for personal gain. Many residents have had confrontations with her and she's told them and myself that she is Council employee etc etc etc and that we are to do what she says otherwise risk a fine.

    On the day of writing that, a Local Laws officer came out and told her to never place those bollards on the road again, and she never did.

    I kept silent about it although wanted to brag to neighbours that she finally learnt her lesson. I later heard from another neighbour that the offending neighbour was pissed and wanted to find out who dobbed her in, but in her own words said '…I've yelled at so many people about this that I don't know who dobbed me in, it could've been anyone…'

    I just nodded but was smiling inside.

    • +10 votes

      That is a thoroughly satisfying story.

    • +9 votes

      I've yelled at so many people about this that I don't know who dobbed me in, it could've been anyone…

      Love situations like this, their own “stenght” was their biggest weakness after all.

      Thanks for the story, it is so weird to see a Council actually do something useful for the community.

    • +2 votes

      Lollypop Lady by day….. Parking Inspector by night.

      • +1 vote

        Give a person authority, any authority, and they change. That night!

        •  

          Agreed. Case in point - Centrelink or any govt agency (VicRoads, local council workers). If you're in a developing nation, add bank tellers, drs/nurses & police - with a little cash or authority you'll be treated like you should but without forget it.
          Have experienced it firsthand and was quite saddened at the change in manner (it happens here too though).

  • +32 votes

    They might be just trying to deter driving instructors in practice parking?

  •  

    Any cheap wheel clamp deals?

  •  

    Sounds to me like after 2 years those bollards may as well be permanent. Help cement that literally - glue them to the road.

  • +2 votes

    As others have already mentioned, yes there are council permits required to use / reserve council parking spaces for use during construction. Whether it be for tradesmen access, skips, concrete pumps etc.

    Depending on the scope, the parking signs immediately in front of their property may switch to the red / white 'Construction Zone' signs, however they may also be using smaller 'Tradesperson parking permits'. But from what you described, it sounds like the former is more applicable given its been 2 years.

    Inquire with your local councils permits / enforcement department.

    For more light reading, some links to inner city melbourne councils and work permits:
    MCC - Tradesment Permit
    MCC - Occupation of Roads
    Yarra Council - Road / Footpath Occupation

  •  

    Wait, so you have randoms parking in spaces that require a permit?

    • +4 votes

      Nope. Read OPs post again and use your comprehension skills.

      • +1 vote

        I already refreshed the new deals page - what do you mean

      • -1 vote

        Thanks, although no need to be a twat about it.

        •  

          Ironic

  • +40 votes
    • Open gumtree app
    • Create new listing
    • Free plastic bollards
    • Located on XXXXXX Street
    • Come pickup at any time

    Problem solved

    • +4 votes

      This is amazing, best idea in this thread

    •  

      And soon enough - mysteriously recurring flat tyre - yours - problem escalated.

      • +1 vote

        how would they know it was OP!?

        •  

          They'll do the whole street until someone fesses up.

  • +1 vote

    Don’t you need a traffic controller’s licence to place bollards on the road? Call workcover nect time and tell them that neighbours are controlling the traffic without the lollipop and maybe they will sus it out.

    •  

      You ask the question, so clearly you don't know the answer, but you then go on to recommend a course of action as if what you've said is true. Maybe don't do that, it makes you look a bit daft.

      • +1 vote

        I acknowledge what Blue Cat is written is not exactly rock solid advice…. however I think you've been a bit harsh.

        No, doesn't make them look daft really. Firstly, Blue Cat is sort of right. You need a competency in traffic management (in Qld anyway) and ongoing professional development to stay current to do the traffic management plans and supervision of the traffic management layout. Not the person placing the bollards directly and they also don't necessarily need a lollipop person to do so though. Therefore asking it as a question due to the uncertainty is not a bad way to write it to elicit a response like mine from someone in the industry.

        Secondly If someone did call the authorities they will answer the question in the case of any grey area, and if they agree they shouldn't be doing it without appropriate qualifications - it's actually not a bad suggestion to get someone to 'maybe sus it out'.

  • +1 vote

    I can understand the frustration. It's the principal of "it's not fair". While a lot of things in life aren't fair, I like to think I try to be fair where possible and expect those around me to do the same. This kind of thing is just selfishness.

    I used to live in a street where down the end, one of the houses would place bollards outside to block off two spaces in an unrestricted area. In the Google Street View (https://www.google.com/maps/@-33.7859947,151.0858392,3a,75y,310.67h,70.74t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s60ng14ogyzpRiUuZ5oQdlg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192) you can see two of the bollards. The black Hyundai belongs to the house behind the bollards and when the black car moves, two more bollards are placed there to "reserve" the spot. This has been happening for years.

    I lived about 1k up the road so this has zero impact on me personally but I still felt the frustration of nearby residents when I drove past.

  • +4 votes

    Pfft council. I prefer the passive aggressive route. Put the bollards back on their property, or even better in the skip when it's there.

    •  

      Would it be theft if you moved them down the street?

      Then they would have to go retrieve them every morning. Every night move 20 more meters further away so they know where to find them and it progressively becomes more of an inconvenience.

  • +2 votes

    I looked for a bikies comment to vote for and found none!

    What has OzBargain come to?

  • +1 vote

    It was more effort to type out this post than it would've been to remove the plastic bollards yourself and park there if available