Letter to the Editor: County Commission doesn’t want camp trailers on Kolob

OPINION – Property rights and overreaching government have been topics of discussion in Southern Utah for the past several months, from the standoff at the Bundy Ranch in nearby Bunkerville, (Nevada), to the City of St. George’s contempt for property rights with its code enforcement program, to the local primary election for county attorney and its discussion of public lands in our system of federalism.

But it turns out that our local Washington County Commissioners might be just as hostile to property rights as the federal government or any other government entity, as it quietly considers passing an amendment to county zoning ordinances which would prohibit private property owners from using their own properties on Kolob Mountain to park their camp and fifth wheel trailers on the mountain for the summer.

See proposed ordinance here: Proposed RV Ordinance Amendment

It appears that our Washington County Commissioners, ironically all Republicans, are proposing to create a new ordinance: Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 23 of the Washington County Code to prohibit use of a recreational vehicle, (specifically defined to include camp trailers and fifth wheel trailers), as “permanent living quarters” on Kolob Mountain and elsewhere in the county. The proposed ordinance considers a camp trailer to be used as “permanent living quarters” if it is used for more than ten consecutive nights, or for 21 nights in a 45-day period.

However, the proposal also presumes that any “night that a recreational vehicle is parked on a property that does not have a primary structure shall count as a night of occupancy.” In other words, as long as your trailer is parked on your own property, ten days are counted regardless of whether you sleep in your camp trailer or not. The county intends to order violators of the proposed ordinance to vacate within fourteen days, and if this is not obeyed, then violators are charged with a class-c misdemeanor and the county is empowered to impound the trailers.

The proposed ordinance can be boiled down to the idea that the county presumes to tell private property owners in a summer mountaintop retreat what they can and cannot park on their properties and for how long. The county’s proposal is abusive and hostile to private property rights, it should outrage the commissioners’ constituents, and it is certainly inconsistent with the principles of limited government that are so hollowly espoused by many of our Republican leaders.

As a Hurricane native whose family and friends have enjoyed the use of property on Kolob for multiple generations, I am deeply troubled that citizens, many of whom are my friends and family members who pull their camp and fifth wheel trailers to their properties for the summer to get away from the scorching summer heat, will now be prevented from doing so, at least without the worry of the County peering over their shoulders and counting how many days their camp trailers have been parked with the threat of criminal charges looming over their heads.

Meetings – open to the public

The Washington County Commission is holding a work meeting on this proposed ordinance at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, June 16, 2014, at the Washington County Administration Building.

And, according to the Washington County Commission’s meeting agenda, consideration of the proposed ordinance will be heard on the following day at the June 17, 2014, meeting, which begins at 4 p.m. at the County Administration Building.

Those of us who value our private property rights and wish to let our voices be heard before the County Commissioners should plan on attending.

Submitted by: Trevor C. Sanders, Hurricane, Utah

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20 Comments

  • Tammy June 15, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Sorry, but you all voted this good ol’ Republicans in. Don’t come crying when your good ol’ boys start putting the screws to you all. You got them to where they’re at, it’s your fault and thankfully I’m Democrat and I for one saw the writing on the wall, after your county officials also screwed over desert ranchers to buy their land for pennies on the dollar and turned around and made themselves millionaires after the land sale, for the New & Improved Sky West (Goes to Nowhere) Airport. You got exactly what you voted for. Ask the ranchers who they screwed over how they like ’em.

    • Applejack June 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      They won’t cry, they’ll just blame Obama and get re-elected. 🙂

  • My Evil Twin June 15, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I can’t believe we don’t have any comments on this situation. It sounds to me like once again, the politicians are doing exactly what they want. Or rather, what perhaps a few wealthy residents of Kolob want.

  • Sandi June 15, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Only difference between republicans and democrats. Repubs will make fine people that own the property. The demass will take your property and give out to the so called needy that don’t work or if they do the send most their money to their country. Once you give up by having kings, monarchs, judges, political parties, instead of society governing themselves that’s that.

  • Chris June 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Washington County Commission–hypocrites of the first order. We need more of what happened to Eardley. Vote the a*holes out.

  • Mud June 15, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Our current commissioner are nothing more than common theives. They have done nothing to help the community, but have done land deals that have benifited them only, just look at the Ledges. They kept getting elected by saying they won’t raise the tax rate but they continually raised the value of your property. If someone followed the property records for the new airport and other large deals I bet they lead right back to Gardner and Eardley. At least we got rid of Eardly, but watch what he does before he leaves office.

  • Bender June 15, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Kolob: Southern Utah’s Little Appalachia. I’ll park my trailers, abandoned cars, and shipping containers wherever I want and don’t tell me my business.

  • Here we go again June 15, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    We have long needed criminal investigations in this county for our “elected” officials! Where do you turn to get the process started, I for one would like to know; and the investigations need to be independent, not some other we’ll scratch your back government agency. This story just goes to show what a joke our leaders are.

  • Tim Klingonsmith June 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    This it a bunch of bull , I’ve been enjoying Kolob for 50 yrs, can’t believe they are trying to pull this bull,its so nice to get out of heat and rat race of town on any day, we need to be to this meeting and voice our opinion,

  • EL JEFE June 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Whewwwww…..I’m glad my tent is exempt. I usually put up my tent around the first days of spring or when the snows melt off, whichever comes first. I then leave my tent up till about Halloween and commute to work to Hurricane each day and it sure is a pleasure to get out of that summer heat. Now, if I can only figure out how to hook up my shower inside my tent, I’ll be all set for the summer.

    • Brian June 16, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      First they came for the business owners, and I said nothing. Then they came for the camp trailers, and I said nothing. And when they came for the tent campers, there was no one left to defend me…

  • Matthew Sevald June 16, 2014 at 10:22 am

    Despite the specific wording about Kolob, I wonder if this also has to do with people like this fellow, armed, possibly mentally ill living out and about in the wilderness in their trailers with arrest records? Seems like if that’s the case, they are closing their loopholes and had to make the law broad enough to be able to nab the “undesirables” but make it “fair” in that they wouldn’t come across as discriminating. Still seems like an overreach because “neighbors complain”. County government becoming the biggest HOA.
    .
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK91raRvwq0
    .
    http://www.thespectrum.com/article/20131107/NEWS01/311070015/
    .
    http://bustedinutah.com/washington/446
    .
    http://bustedinutah.com/washington/420
    .

  • Kris June 16, 2014 at 10:25 am

    politics aside, this could set a precedence for our recreation property everywhere and needs to be stopped now. Trevor or anybody have the commissioners email addresses they can post. We need to send them a message to stay out of our property rights..Also, has this passed or is their time for discussion?

  • Bender June 16, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Did any of you commenting fools actually read the proposed ordinance? There are some valid reasons, not mentioned in the editorial above, why it is being considered. The main one being the dumping of sewage in the watershed we all drink from.
    .

  • Voice of Reason June 16, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Mr. Sanders apparently needed to read the ordinance more carefully. This ordinance, at is turns out, doesn’t affect Kolob at all. It is meant to allow people to live in the RVs on their property for a short period of time in places where it is currently not allowed in the county.

    • Trevor Sanders June 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Actually, I did read the proposal carefully and exposed at least one flaw. At the meeting, Mr. Clark from the county attorney’s office acknowledged that a provision needed to be added to the ordinance proposal to make clear that it applied to all of the county with the exception of Kolob, as the proposal didn’t say one way or the other.

      It would appear that you didn’t pay close enough attention to the meeting discussion if you were there, or, alternatively, should talk to someone who can accurately present the substance of the meeting to you if you weren’t there. And on a final note, I think it’s interesting that you only have the courage to criticize while cowering behind an anonymous identity.

  • KanabCowgirl June 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    This is absolutely NUTS! All I have is a camp trailer between me and homeless-ness. Those who have the $ like to pick on those who don’t. Seen it my whole life.

  • Hill bender Dover June 16, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Ben der please don’t act as stupid as you are. If you yourself take a dump on top of kolob and wait the 7 years to then drink the water at the bottom of the well do you really think your drinking sewage? Really ? I hate to be the first to inform you but you have been drinking sewage from everyone around you for years. I have a solution for most the earths problems global warming, desease, over population, pollution, it’s called WW III. Buy the way all you liberals that keep supporting illegal immigration from anywhere the moon, mars, even Uranus you are the problem. What we need are more laws and regulations that will help make us stupid, smart.

    • Bender June 16, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      I nominate this genius for Mensa membership. Why don’t ya head on over to the city sewage treatment plant and share your wisdom with the operators there. We could all save millions.

    • Applejack June 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Hill Bender Dover: what results when generations of inbreeding mix with a Mormon church controlled educational system that keeps Utah students from being second only to last in the United States.

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