This has been an interesting thread to follow in that there were many more perspectives shared than I have considered. I'm not sure how my question will fit in to the discussion but I'll ask anyway. How does living aboard on a mooring fit into all this? Is it allowed or overlooked? Does marina management tend to take a different view and do limitations such as those cited in California apply? I ask this because the discussion has focused almost entirely on being tied to a dock. Surely there are those that live on moorings also.
Many of the marinas we've stayed in have offered anchored or moored boats the option to land their dinghies here, take advantage of shoreside services like laundry and bathhouse and internet lounge, for a nominal fee, $10 per dinghy per day on the days they use it, and no one seems to have a problem with that. Of course, long term anchored/moored boats need to have some provision for pumpout and waste removal. The issues I've seen between marinas and anchored boats tend to be related to pollution, improper anchoring (either dragging into boats in slips, or anchoring so close that those boats can't safely leave), or noise (generators or music either loud or at inconsiderate hours), or trying to game the system by sneaking in and not paying. But those are bad behavior regardless, whether someone's a liveaboard or not, on land or on water.
For the relatively short period that I owned my first boat there was a short period, when my jobsite was closer to the boat than home, where I lived on my boat 5-7 days a week. I absolutely loved it. There were no additional charges incurred by me. I did use more water and electricity while onboard. The water was free, the electricity metered, but on the other hand I did make more purchases such as ice and snacks. The marina owner also commented that he noticed much less loitering from campers in a nearby campground at night while I was there and I felt like I contributed to the security of the place in some small way. Since I was tied to the other side of the fuel dock, there were several instances that I assisted powerboaters in tying up to fuel when the help hadn't arrived yet (small marina).
Sounds like someone who's an asset to the marina community. I'm not surprised that the owner appreciated having you there.
Based on my own limited experience, I can understand a small, reasonable fee for liveaboards and I can understand a marina wanting to maintain certain standards. I also think that responsible liveaboards contribute to the welfare of the marina in lots of small, yet significant ways and have trouble understanding why any marina would willingly object to having responsible people who conduct themselves within marina standards living in the marina.
I've never lived in a HOA so I'll use my own analogy. When living on a Navy vessel at sea, the berthing areas are VERY close. Nobody cared what color your blanket was or even whether or not you made your rack up as long as the curtains were closed. But you damn well better keep your rack clean because nasty odors and/or junk falling from your rack onto the community deck would earn you a forcibly mandated trip to the showers as your matress was rolled up and the entire contents dumped overboard. Respect your neighbors was the order of the day.
With you there - consideration, thinking about the effect your actions have on those around you, make for good relations. Isn't this the stuff we learned in kindergarden?