Motorhome parking and storage in residential areas never seems to go uncontested these days ….
Overland, Kansas, parking
The Overland Park City Council, on November 20, 2006, rejected an ordinance that would have banned RVs 8 feet or taller from residential areas.
Existing RV owners would have had to register vehicles with the city and surrender them if they moved to a different house.
The ordinance also would have mandated that RVs be parked only beside or behind a home but inside required setbacks for the yard. Screening the vehicles with vegetation or solid fencing also would have been required.
Supporters claimed the ordinance was essential for protecting against unsightly, unsafe vehicles parked inappropriately. Dissenters said the proposal was too limiting, but most agreed that some regulation was needed for RVs.
The proposed ordinance had been discussed by city officials for more than two years. City Council, which defeated the ordinance 8-4, intends to reconsider the matter in May.
New Castle County, Delaware, parking
New Castle County Council, on October 24, 2006, voted down an ordinance that would have legalized RV parking in driveways. But a suspension of the enforcement of an existing law remains in effect, which means owners can park their RVs on their property.
The proposed ordinance, rejected by a 9-4 vote, would have:
- limited residents to two RVs on their property, with only one in the driveway;
- eliminated a minimum lot size requirement;
- required 3-foot clearance for vehicles parked on side or in rear; and
- eliminated a screening requirement.
- In June 2005 council passed a measure requiring RVs to be parked on a hard surface in side or rear yards, if the lot was less than two acres. RVs also had to be screened from view. A few months later council suspended enforcement of these rules after citizens complained the law was unfair.
With the suspension in effect, the county has no regulations for RV parking on residential lots.
Dover, Delaware, parking
The city of Dover was considering an ordinance that would prohibit RVs longer than 35 feet from parking in a residential zone for more than 24 hours.
Under the proposed ordinance, RVs less than 35 feet would have to be parked in a garage or behind the house, at least 5 feet from the side and rear property lines.
When parked outside, those smaller RVs also would have to be screened by a solid fence and parked on an impervious surface. No more than one such RV could be stored outside of a garage.
According to The News Journal, out of Wilmington, a council subcommittee drafted the ordinance after a series of public meetings over the summer. City officials say the new ordinance is needed because the existing zoning ordinance governing RV parking and storage is ineffective and filled with loopholes.
The ordinance received first reading at the November 13, 2006, city council meeting. It was referred to the city planning commission for recommendations, with a stipulation that a public hearing be held before council on January 8, 2007. The second reading and final action by council could have occurred at that time.
Burnsville, Minnesota, parking
Burnsville City Council, on November 6, 2006, enacted an RV ordinance that limits driveway parking in front yards to 14 continuous days. The ordinance also requires RVs in side yards or rear yards to be parked on a hard surface.
Setback requirements for parking in rear or side yards remain in effect: 2 feet from the side lot line, 8 feet from the rear lot line. But the vehicle now must be parked on a surface of concrete, brick pavers, bituminous, or Class 5 material.
In June 2006 city council formed a citizens committee “” composed of three persons in favor of restrictions and three against “” to help craft an RV parking ordinance. The committee proposed the driveway parking limit and the hard-surface parking requirement.
The committee also recommended that motorhomes parked in side or rear yards be screened from eye-level view with a fence or plantings. Council dropped this stipulation after determining that RV setback requirements might prevent some residents from creating screening around their existing hard-surface parking pad.
Screening is required, however, for RV owners in districts with R-3 zoning.
Oregon crosswalk laws
Motorhome owners traveling in Oregon should note that the state’s crosswalk laws changed in 2006.
Senate Bill 591, which took effect January 1, 2007, allows motorists to make a turn at a signaled intersection once a pedestrian is 6 feet across the adjacent lane. A previous law required the driver to wait until the pedestrian was across the entire adjacent lane.
“Lawmakers heard feedback from motorists that the full-lane requirement sometimes prevented drivers from making turns at busy signalized intersections,” said Julie Yip, Safe Routes to School coordinator of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Safety Division. “The 6-foot buffer is intended to give pedestrians space for a safe crossing without forcing a motorist to wait until the person crosses an entire two-lane street, for example.”
At crosswalks without a signal, drivers must stop for the pedestrian, who must clear the lane in which the vehicle is traveling or turning, plus the next lane, before proceeding.
Violations can result in a fine of $242, or $355 if the crosswalk is in a school zone.
Santa Paula, California, parking
Santa Paula is considering banning RV parking in front yards, except for a 48-hour period. City council may appoint a committee to study the issue before the proposed regulations proceed.
The regulations would prohibit RV parking in any front yard, including any driveway or portion of a driveway within a front yard, for more than 48 hours.
RV parking would be permitted in the side or rear yards of residential lots, subject to these restrictions:
1. A maximum of one RV would be permitted on a residential property.
2. The vehicle could not exceed a height of 96 inches or a length of 32 feet.
3. The vehicle must maintain a minimum setback of 20 feet from the front property line and 3 feet from the side and rear property lines.
RV storage in any nonresidential zone district would be permitted only in approved storage facilities.
Several RV owners who do not have side yard or rear yard access would be required to move their vehicles to a storage facility.
At the December 4, 2006, city council meeting, citizens asked council to revise the proposed regulations. No formal action was taken, but council discussed the formation of a committee to evaluate the parking issue and submit recommendations.
Council was expected to address the issue in January after it set its goals for the new year.
Santa Paula is located about 51 miles northwest of Los Angeles, in Ventura County.
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] Remember to visit our Web site for regular updates: www.fmca.com/motorhomerights.
Feedback Topics “” An Update
In the November 2006 “Legislative Updates” column, FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee sought member feedback on two issues: a lemon law for motorhomes, and the length limit for motorhome/towed vehicle combinations.
The committee met in Cincinnati in November 2006 to address these and other issues.
Lemon law: The committee discussed prospects for creating a nationwide model lemon law. Using the Florida Lemon Law as a guide, the committee hammered out the framework for a model law.
“We arrived at a lemon law model that we believe is fair to all concerned,” said Max Durbin, committee chairman. “It would improve lemon law benefits for motorhome owners.”
The committee discussed lemon law provisions such as the amount of time allotted for repairs to be made, and coverage for the living facilities of motorhomes (the Florida law covers only the motor-vehicle components).
The Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee is seeking an alliance with lemon law organizations and RV industry groups to further its cause. “We will be attempting to gain recognition from governments that a problem exists, and are giving lawmakers suggestions on how to reconcile the matter,” Mr. Durbin said.
The ultimate goal, he added, is for a nationwide model lemon law to be distributed to states and provinces for adoption.
Combined length: Some FMCA members have encountered rigorous enforcement of laws regulating the combined length of motorhomes and towed vehicles.
“There is a wide disparity in the combined lengths allowed throughout North America,” Mr. Durbin said. “Given our resources, it would be a challenge to persuade states and provinces to create a uniform set of length regulations.”
Consideration was given to obtaining special permits, but that notion was abandoned due to possible conflicts with the trucking industry and the expense associated with obtaining the permits.
The committee decided to seek the assistance of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association, which employs a staff of full-time lobbyists.
FMCA’s Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee welcomes feedback on legal issues affecting motorhome owners.
- Send an e-mail to [email protected]
- Call (800) 543-3622, ext. 319
- Write to FMCA, 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45244, Attn: Margaret Keen
All comments are used for FMCA informational use only and will not be shared with outside parties.