Bans on parking anywhere except in licensed campgrounds. Owners’ rights to park on their property weighted against neighbors’ concerns about safety and aesthetics. The beat goes on …
Baltimore County on-street parking
In early July, Baltimore County (Maryland) Council approved a bill that prohibits RV parking on any residential street, except during a 24-hour period for loading or unloading. Existing law regulates boat parking on public property, but not RV parking.
City staff and residents had commented that RVs are aesthetic eyesores and block motorists’ views of oncoming traffic. One city official claimed some owners were parking their RVs blocks away from their residences and leaving them there for weeks at a time.
The new bill went into effect August 24, 2006.
Max Durbin, chair of FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee, sent a letter asking the council to reconsider the bill and create a compromise.
“Some of your citizens, because of limited yard space or no access to side or rear yards, must find another place to park because of the new ordinance,” Mr. Durbin wrote. “All recreation vehicle owners are now being denied the right to bring their units to the front of their residences and [perform routine] maintenance … recharge batteries ….”
Torrance, California, on-street parking
The city has buckled down on street parking of oversized vehicles “” for residents and out-of-town owners.
- According to an ordinance approved by city council on August 22:
- Starting January 1, 2007, only oversized vehicles with a City of Torrance Resident Registration Sticker will be allowed to park on any public street or highway in the city.
- Beginning July 1, 2007, no oversized vehicle will be permitted to park on any street without displaying a valid Oversized Vehicle Parking Permit, which would allow for loading, unloading, and general maintenance.
- Permit days will be from 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 p.m.
- Each resident may apply for 96 permits per year, not to exceed 24 per quarter or three straight days.
- The oversized vehicle will be restricted to parking directly in front of the owner’s property (or the side of the property) or the residence that the out-of-town visitor is visiting.
- Residents who host out-of-town RVers may apply for 14 consecutive daily permits but no more than 30 per year.
- A future study will determine permit costs and an annual registration fee.
Previous regulations required drivers to move their vehicles every 72 hours, but some residents allegedly moved them only a few feet at a time.
Torrance is located about 20 miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles.
Los Angeles on-street parking
Los Angeles City Council, in early August, enacted an ordinance that bans motorhome parking on certain city streets between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.
The new law applies to vehicles more than 22 feet long and 7 feet tall. Council members will identify streets in their respective districts where these vehicles will be prohibited from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
The ordinance allows RV owners to buy overnight parking permits for $10, which are valid for up to three straight days. Transportation officials were considering providing vending machines at city buildings so RV owners could buy permits at all hours.
Violators of the new ordinance face fines of $50 to $220.
Laughlin, Nevada, casino parking
An ordinance that banned dry camping in Laughlin, Nevada, casino parking lots was revised by the Southern Nevada Health District in late July, giving local resorts the nod to invite RV owners back.
The health district updated its existing public accommodation regulations to address dry camping facilities and newer models of self-contained RVs.
And local resorts personnel breathed a sigh of relief.
“We are looking forward to having our RV visitors back,” said Lisa McCabe, president of the Laughlin Tourism Committee. “These RV campers are an important part of Laughlin’s clientele. We actively market to this group and look forward to their arrival each winter.”
In January 2006 “” at the peak of winter visitor season in Laughlin “” the health district issued a cease and desist order to casino resort properties, effectively banning dry camping in Laughlin.
At the urging of Laughlin resorts and several of Nevada’s elected officials, the health district developed new regulations, which were approved by the Board of Health on July 27.
The changes allow facilities that already had permits from the health district to continue to provide dry camping accommodations to RVs legally without having to meet the requirements of the State of Nevada RV/Campground regulations.
Resorts that wish to allow dry camping but do not have a permit must obtain one from the health district.
Oceanside, California, parking
Oceanside City Council on August 16 enacted two ordinances that address the parking of oversized vehicles.
One of the ordinances amended traffic code to include regulations for oversized vehicle parking on city streets. The other modified off-street parking provisions in residential areas.
Traffic code ordinance: The new traffic ordinance prohibits an RV from parking on streets for more than 72 hours. After the 72-hour period, the vehicle must be moved at least 1/2-mile from its original location for at least 24 hours.
A resident may request a 72-hour extension permit to park on the street. Limit: four times per year per vehicle.
The new ordinance defines an oversized vehicle as one that exceeds 22 feet in length or 84 inches in width, or 84 inches in height.
The previous law prohibited oversized vehicles, including RVs, from parking on streets for more than 72 hours without having been moved one-tenth of a mile.
Zoning ordinance: Oceanside’s former zoning ordinance prohibited vehicles from parking in a front, side, or rear yard setback area except on an approved driveway.
The zoning code was amended to permit RVs to park in a side or rear yard setback area if certain guidelines are met:
- Vehicles must be parked behind a 6-foot-high, view-obscuring fence.
- Vehicles must be parked on an acceptable surface of gravel, brick, or other paved surface.
- Vehicles or portions thereof, which are visible from public or adjacent private property, must be maintained in good appearance and condition, and must be free of rust, dilapidated tarps or coverings, or deteriorated paint.
- Vehicles must not block exterior windows or doors of habitable space in a dwelling.
- Vehicles must not block access to utility boxes or meters.
- At least one 36-inch clear side yard access aisle to the rear yard must be maintained on the property.
- Owners of 51 percent or more of the land in a defined planning neighborhood or subdivision may file for an exemption to the front yard parking limitations.
According to a planning commission report, the zoning amendment and traffic code modifications will provide flexibility for residents and visitors while promoting a balanced need to promote community character and safety.
Without the changes, the report said, the continued visual effect of large vehicles on neighborhood streets and on private property will continue to detract from the character of the city’s neighborhoods.
California combined length
The legal length limit for motorhome/towed vehicle combinations in California is 65 feet. The California Department of Transportation does not issue permits for combinations exceeding this limit.
FMCA members Rick and Barbara Kent, F157195, of Searcy, Arkansas, said they were issued a citation while driving between Indio, California, and the state line. A state police officer measured their 45-foot motorhome and towed car at 68 feet.
When sharing their experience with other motorhomers, the Kents heard talk of a “grace measurement” “” the availability of a permit for a combination longer than 65 feet.
FMCA has confirmed with the California Highway Patrol that this is not an option. California Vehicle Code limits the total length of any combination of vehicles to 65 feet, and the department of transportation does not issue over-length permits.
The Kents have researched towed vehicle lengths to see what they can legally tow. “We have found that with a 45-foot motorhome the only thing you can tow in California is something similar in length to a Jeep Wrangler or Volkswagen,” Mr. Kent said. “The Chevrolet Tahoe is nearly a foot too long.”
Mr. Kent, treasurer of FMCA’s Prevost Prouds chapter, often carries rally materials in the towed vehicle. “There is no way I can carry everything we need for our prerally in a Jeep Wrangler. It is also not feasible to buy another car just to tow when traveling to California.”
According to FMCA’s most recent Motorhome Regulations survey, 33 states have combined length limits of 65 feet or shorter.
Covina, California, residential parking
In August an ad hoc committee assigned to study RV parking and storage regulations forwarded a report to the Covina Planning Commission with the following recommendations:
Front Yard Setback: An RV may be parked or stored in the driveway of a single-family residence if the entire vehicle fits over an appropriately paved surface without overhanging into sidewalks. For areas without a sidewalk, RVs should be parked at least 7 feet from the face of the curb or the beginning of the paved street, whichever distance is shorter.
Side Yard Access: RVs must be parked or stored so that at least 3 lineal feet of open access is preserved in all side yards on the lot.
Parking Orientation: RVs must be parked or stored perpendicular to the front lot line. Where a residence is located on a corner lot with two yards that face streets, or rights-of-way, the RV may be parked perpendicular to any lot line that faces a street or right-of-way.
According to Jeff Kugel, assistant director of community development, the commission was expected to forward its final recommendations to city council in October.
Nova Scotia, Canada, overnight parking
Nova Scotia’s Tourism Accommodations Act prohibits camping overnight in retail store parking lots, but the law has not been enforced.
In May, at the urging of campground owners and tourism operators, Tourism Minister Rodney MacDonald sent a letter to retail property owners advising them of the law.
According to The Chronicle Herald, Halifax, in July the local Wal-Mart began posting signs discouraging RVers from parking in its lot overnight.
The Tourism Department is responsible for enforcing the law, but the campgrounds favor a policy where municipalities enforce parking in facilities licensed for overnight parking.
Wal-Mart Canada spokesman Kevin Groh told The Chronicle Herald that the company’s policy is to follow local bylaws.
Legislative Updates is a periodic column compiled by FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee “” Max Durbin, chairman “” and Todd Moning, FMCA.com Web editor. Contact the committee through FMCA’s Membership Department, (800) 543-3622; e-mail [email protected]. Don’t forget to visit our Web site for regular updates: www.fmca.com/motorhomerights.
What do you think?
FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee is seeking member feedback on two legislative-related topics. We would be pleased to add your comments to our files, as these subjects will be on the agenda when the committee meets on November 14.
Lemon laws: In May the committee was asked by an RV industry official to help craft and endorse a nationwide model “lemon law.”
Typically, lemon laws guarantee consumers replacement motor vehicles or refunds after a certain number of defects or days in the repair shop. These statutes vary by state and often do not apply to motorhomes, which contain living quarters as well as motor-vehicle components.
Legislators in some states, however, have introduced bills that create RV lemon laws or expand the existing lemon laws to include motorized RVs.
Submit your lemon law comments via:
- E-mail: m[email protected] (type “lemon law” in the subject line)
- Phone: Margaret Keen, (800) 543-3622, ext. 319 (you may leave a voice message if calling after hours)
- Mail: FMCA, 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45244, Attn: Margaret Keen
In your correspondence, please include your full name and/or FMCA membership number.
Combined length limit: Is your motorhome/towed vehicle combination longer than 65 feet?
In some states it is illegal to operate vehicle combinations that exceed 65 feet. Before taking a legislative stance, FMCA is trying to determine how many members are affected by this limitation.
If your motorhome and towed vehicle combined are longer than 65 feet, please send an e-mail to: [email protected] (type “combined length” in the subject line). Or, call Margaret Keen at (800) 543-3622, ext. 319. You may leave a voice message if calling after hours.
Please mention your full name and/or FMCA membership number in your call or e-mail.
We would be grateful for your input on these issues. All information will be used for FMCA business purposes only. None of it will be shared with outside parties.
“” Max Durbin, F76454
Chairman, Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee