ST. GEORGE — It may soon be legal in St. George to park your recreational vehicle in your front yard driveway.
For the better part of two years, a consultant has been working with the city’s legal staff to revamp a mountain of outdated city code with respect to zoning ordinances in an effort to simplify the existing tangle of ordinances.
Among those revisions include some potential changes to off-street parking requirements, which were discussed at length by the St. George City Council during a Nov. 29 work meeting. One of the key points of discussion had to do with RV parking.
According to the city’s current Title 10 code, no motor homes, travel trailers, boats or similar recreational vehicles may be parked in a home’s front yard setback area adjacent to a public street for a period longer than two weeks. After two weeks, they need to be parked behind the home’s setback, such as a side yard or backyard area.
Driving around St. George, you wouldn’t know that this is the law based on the many homeowners seemingly in violation of the ordinance.
“The reality is a lot of people do it. A lot of people expect to be able to do it,” Councilman Ed Baca said, referring to citizens parking RVs in their front driveways.
“Personally, I don’t like having to look out and see an RV out in front of my house,” Baca said. “That’s me personally, but what I’m finding is there are so many incidents of this taking place and the contention it creates between neighbors, we need to take it off the books or enforce it.”
Baca said the law needs to be changed if it’s not possible to enforce it.
“You only have two code enforcement guys,” he said. “I don’t know how they’re going to do it. If you’re going to enforce it, hire back your four code enforcement officers.”
However, hiring additional code enforcement personnel didn’t seem to be a favorable idea to most of the elected officials present at the meeting, which in addition to Baca included Councilwoman Michele Randall, Councilwoman Bette Arial, Councilman Jimmy Hughes and Mayor Jon Pike.
“What I’d like to see code enforcement go after is the horrible weeds — first I want to see them start with businesses; get your businesses looking good,” Randall said. “But if somebody has a nice RV parked on the side of their house or a nice boat, I really don’t care. It’s not junk. It’s not weeds. It’s not, you know, filth.”
Currently, code enforcement officers in St. George spend the vast majority of their time responding to complaints called into the city by citizens.
“If we leave it and start enforcing it, I just want to know, is the council going to support doing that?” Pike asked. “That’s what makes people frustrated.”
While none of the council members would commit one way or another to allowing RVs to be parked in front setbacks, a majority indicated that they’d like to see the law changed when it comes time to vote on the city code revisions.
“This will come back to us. It will no matter what we do. Because some people are going to say, ‘dangit, make them clean up,’” Pike said.
Pike also noted that if the law becomes actively enforced, some residents would be forced to tear down structures built in their front setbacks intended to store RVs and others who have no parking available in their backyard area would have to pay to have them stored at a facility.
On the other hand, Arial asked rhetorically why the city even has rules if they’re not going to be enforced.
“I have such frustrated neighbors that call me daily who feel so unheard,” she said.
Either way, the law prohibiting RVs from being parked in front setbacks for more than two weeks still stands and won’t be changed until the matter is brought up for formal vote in a future City Council meeting, at which time the city will take public comment on the proposed changes.
In the meantime, the city’s legal team in conjunction with Community Development Director John Willis is still busy finalizing the ordinance revamp.
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