CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Andy Lipka loves classic cars. One of his latest obsessions is his 1965 Ford F250 pickup truck.
It still runs well and in Lipka’s opinion, it’s pretty close to perfect.
As he explained, “It reminds me of the truck I grew up in with my dad.”
Not only does Lipka love the way it drives, he likes the paint job. As he describes, “It’s not damaged, it’s the way the finish has evolved over the years.”
His homeowner’s association (HOA) hates it. So much so, they are suing him. The bylaws of the HOA in his Chesterfield neighborhood state vehicles with moderately severe body damage can’t be parked in the driveway. But Lipka says his classic truck does not have body damage.
Lipka told News 4, “Its original Ford paint from 1965, it’s sought after now.”
In the car world, it’s known as a patina finish and car experts say it’s a rising trend.
Noah Alexander owns a classic car studio in St. Louis and is also the face of a nationwide show shot from his shop called ‘Speed is the New Black.’ Alexander says some clients specifically request the patina finish.
He says, “I think it’s very popular now and becoming more popular.”
But in Lipka’s case, beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to the Woodfield Homes Association in Chesterfield.
He parks his truck in his driveway because his garage houses two other vehicles. He’s been assessed nearly $3,000 in penalties and fines and is facing a very serious threat.
Lipka says the lawsuit, “Also implicates my house. They want to foreclose on my house.”
If the fines aren’t paid, the HOA will seek foreclosure. Lipka has filed a countersuit.
He understands the benefits of an HOA and rules that prohibit parking cars with flat tires or ones that are inoperable outside, but he feels this has gone too far.
Missouri State Representative Bryan Spencer represents rapidly growing Wentzville where new neighborhoods and new HOAs are sprouting up. Spencer says he goes to “60 to 80 HOA meetings a year, they are my number one district concern.”
He says he’s tried to introduce legislation that would curb HOA power in Missouri but the plan fell apart in Jefferson City.
“I’ve worked on legislation, a Homeowners’ Bill of Rights, which has gone nowhere because of lobbyist efforts. (It would) let you make decisions about your property that you bought, give property rights to the owners,” said Spencer.
News 4 reached out to the president of Lipka’s HOA but did not hear back. But an attorney for the HOA stated, “The association is asking the court to enforce its covenants, which Lipka agreed to follow and was aware of prior to purchasing his home.”
Lipka says he’s not aware of any covenant that prevents the truck from being parked on his property.
The attorney goes on to say, “Mr. Lipka is not being singled out, and the association and neighbors made numerous attempts to reach a resolution.”
Lipka, a combat veteran, says this is a battle unlike any he’s fought before.
“They say combat creates clarity, this is different there is no clarity here,” he said.
If a judge decides in Lipka’s favor, the fines and associated threat of foreclosure will go away.
According to the Community Association Institute, in Missouri, there are more than 1,090,000 people living under the rules and regulations of an HOA.
In Illinois, there are 3,750,000 people living in neighborhoods governed by an HOA.
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