St. George officials consider allowing RVs to be parked in front yard driveways

Stock image | Photo by Omgimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

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For the better part of two years, a consultant has been working with the city’s legal staff to revamp a mountain of outdated city code with respect to zoning ordinances in an effort to simplify the existing tangle of ordinances.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.”

St. George city officials discuss changes to off-street parking requirements during a work meeting at St. George City Hall, St. George, Utah, Nov, 29, 2018 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

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.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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22 Comments

  • Jmfixitman December 8, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Change it! BUT add language that says no jalopies or delapidated junk, it has to be in good condition/repair, no weeds growing around it or trash. Can’t be blocking the sidewalk or street, etc.

    • 42214 December 8, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      That doesn’t work because it calls for subjective appraisal of the vehicle. What you call good your neighbor might not. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. I’ve seen this become a problem in other cities.

    • Red2Blue310 December 9, 2018 at 6:18 pm

      Impossible.

  • Not_So_Much December 8, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    If someone has an RV, I would think they could afford, or make a place to park it. What makes one ‘nice’ anyway?

  • Chris December 8, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    So, the city council and mayor won’t spend the money to hire more code enforcement officers, but they have no problem giving themselves big raises!

  • mmsandie December 8, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    I don’t want an rv. in front of my house… on Westridge dr.. they park the. Every other week plug in the cord and live in it. 9ne time an ol$ rv was parked across the street and the owner dumped out the fecal waste in the gutter..disgusting.. how can you prevent that..it ha# to be enforced.. people don’t want to pay fir rent@l space ..som3 are parked on the. side of the house and they live out of it yr round..

  • jaltair December 8, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Hire the enforcement officers an enforce existing law! I’d hate to look out and see an RV parked in a driveway next door. Nothing makes neighborhoods depreciate more than the “tresaures” other people collect sitting in front yards. Owners of RV’s can park beside their homes or in the back.

  • Daniel December 8, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    I don’t know if I’m not understanding or if everyone else isn’t understanding, but from what I read the law says it can’t be parked in the front driveway or on the side of the house. All the comments about parking on the street has nothing to do with this law. I bought a home that was marketed with RV parking along the side of the home and that’s where my 26 ft trailer is stored. It is clean and kept, away from the street and my front driveway. There is no way I can get my trailer into my back yard. I will actively fight this law if it is enforced! Theres jo way I will vote for any city official that wants to keep this ridiculous law.

  • Flagsdad December 8, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Having faced this dilemma as a long time city official in three very different cities the advice I can offer, is The best way to change a bad or difficult to manage code is to Enforce it, not sporadically or when call are received but across the board consistently. Citizens will en masse let you know how they feel.

  • Craig December 8, 2018 at 9:25 pm

    I think the current regulations on parking are great.

  • Gr62 December 8, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    St George officials shouldn’t get a 66% raise. That’s way to much! Southern Utah peoples wages are way less than people in Northern Utah. And the City Officials in Southern Utah should make way less money too than in Northern Utah. Them voting to give themself a 66% raise should be illegal. There should be a law with a very low max. Otherwise. Vote all of them out every year and replace with others, and not be able to be a city Official more than once (one year). My wife gets a 2.8 % raise, but Medicare price went up. Maybe they shouldn’t get any more than retired people on Social Security who can’t afford all their medication. We see it all the time at the drug store. Elderly people not able to buy all their medication and have to choose which is more important. But by golly the City Oficials pats themselves on the back and gives themselves a 66% raise. Not fair!

    • Mike P December 9, 2018 at 10:28 am

      Gr62, thanks for staying on subject there buddy. I believe this article was about R.V. Parking?

  • Curtis December 9, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Please enforce the code, hire more people if you have to!

  • Curtis December 9, 2018 at 7:13 am

    There’s a lot of city employees out there, water, power, parks, maybe they can help out with this code enforcement somehow ? Enforce the code.

  • KR567 December 9, 2018 at 10:54 am

    Why try to enforce that law when they don’t enforce the no blocking of public sidewalks with all their cars and trucks and R.V”s and trailers

  • Red2Blue310 December 9, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    Bad idea when there are so many homeless, strangers will be living in rvs parked on your streets IN FRONT OF YOUR YARD you worked so hard to maintain. Dont do it. Keep our city nice.

  • JJODL December 9, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    I own and pay taxes on my driveway, why can’t I park a RV there?

  • Redbud December 9, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    If the city stops enforcing it, can homes in areas with HOA’s still enforce it?

    • KR567 December 10, 2018 at 8:21 am

      The Church will make that decision and it will inform the local politicians what they want done

      • Redbud December 10, 2018 at 5:57 pm

        Oh! I should have known! You are exactly right.

  • KR567 December 10, 2018 at 8:23 am

    LOL ! This should be good homeless people parking their RV’s in front of the Mormon Temple and the Mayors house

  • pappy December 10, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Follow the money. The “leadership” of this city, like many others, is corrupt.

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