Recreational vehicles are designed for relaxation, but they are creating work for city officials.
After receiving complaints about the hulking rigs, the La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission is considering a measure to further regulate where residents can park their RVs, trailers and boats.
Under current law, city residents are prohibited from parking RVs in front of a home, though RVs can be stored anywhere in the rear of a property. They also can be parked in a side yard, as long as they are obscured from view by a fence or wall.
Under a measure the Planning Commission considered Tuesday, all RV parking would be subject to the review of the city's director of community development.
The director would weigh in only on situations that draw a complaint, considering factors including “the existing scale and character of the surrounding neighborhood.”
Planning Commissioner Jonathan Curtis said city oversight of RV storage is needed to prevent eyesores.
“Essentially, these are commercial vehicles,” Curtis said. “They're huge; they're almost as big as semis.”
Resident and RV owner Lucien LeBlanc told the commission he thought the proposed law would go too far.
“We're trying to get visual blight of [recreational vehicles] out of the city, and I get that, I'm all for it. But what are the alternatives? Are there any alternatives for [recreational vehicle] storage in this city? No, there's none.”
LeBlanc also said he thought the proposed ordinance was “impossible” to enforce.
The measure would prohibit parking a recreational vehicle on the street for more than 72 hours, but would allow driveway parking up to 48 hours for loading and unloading. It also would allow visitors to park RVs in a resident's driveway for up to 14 days.
Resident Otis Hutchins told the commission that he supports the new law, but that RVs are a fact of life here and play important roles for some residents.
“Most of the arguments we've heard against RVs in La Cañada Flintridge have been cosmetic in nature, not safety or environmental,” Hutchins said. “In fact, RVs can provide short periods of refuge for not only the owners, but others, as well.”
Robert Stanley, who as the city's director of community development would be the one to enforce the proposed law, said he favors it. But he added that the clamor for new regulation is limited to just a few unhappy campers.
“The only reason we had complaints is that somebody got complained against and went out and complained about everyone else,” Stanley said. “I don't see a big group out there that's adamantly against RVs.”
Stanley said that it's unlikely the city could find any place within city limits to provide RV storage to the public, and so permitting residential storage with oversight is the preferable option.
“This is the best alternative we have to give each individual property owner and neighbor,” he said. “If there is opposition to an RV, have them come in and defend it … but short of prohibiting RVs, I'm not sure what else you're going to do.”
The commission returned the proposed ordinance to staff and will take it up again at the June 26 commission meeting. If it is approved, the measure will move on to a vote of the City Council.