RV Owners in Violation
Residents Marilyn and Lloyd Goodwin are among the estimated 50 RV owners in the city that are not in compliance with current RV storage setbacks. They are in violation of the stricter RV Regulation Ordinance that was approved last summer.
Current regulations limit the amount of RV's to only one per home or piece of land, include setbacks from property lines and do not allow RV's to be parked in the front of the property.
The Goodwin's say they have no choice but to park their 22-foot RV in their front yard.
"It's just big enough to where I can't get it in the alley to get it into the back yard," Lloyd said.
The Lloyd's along with RV owner Larry Shepherd attended the last council workshop on Thursday, Jan. 17 to see how leaders were going to address the issue.
"Make it less restrictive than it currently is," Shepherd told councilors.
"I would have to go with no setbacks because I just don't see the point in them. It's just the storage of the vehicle, not a permanent structure. The fact that boats and cars, like an RV, don't have any of these requirements, why are they placed on RV's? If it's not a safety issue than what are the setbacks for?" Shepherd said.
Councilors discussed the issue and talked about eliminating or reducing the current setbacks. They eventually, with guidance from City Attorney Andy Salzman and City Manager Jim O'Reilly, settled on moving forward with two steps.
First, since the majority of RV owners who've spoken up cannot comply with the setbacks, they are going to create a program that would allow current residents to apply for a variance.
Secondly, they are going to leave the current ordinance as is and revisit the ordinance, if needed, in six months. Councilors agreed that the variance program may be able to "grandfather in" current violators while restricting the placement of future RV's, a compromise that would help current owners while hopefully setting a standard for future owners.
There may not be a need to change the ordinance with a variance program, Salzman and O'Reilly told councilors.
The Goodwin's will apply for the program once it's created. They say this is a compromise they ultimately have to agree on.
"I think that is good that they are going to exempt the ones that have campers as of today, revisit the idea in 6 months and see if there is a problem if they need to do anything else," Marilyn said. "Breaking it up into two parts is smart," she added.
However, Larry Shepherd still believes it's unfair to residents who want to buy an RV in the future.
Community Development Director Fred Metcalf will work with staff to create a program and bring it forward to council for consideration.
Gulfport City Council will discuss the proposed program and decide if the variance for the RV will be attached to the owner or property. Those details are undecided.
Current ordinance: Chapter 21 Recreation Vehicles
This is an excerpt from "Regulations for the keeping and maintaining of recreation vehicles" from the Code of Ordinances listed online.
"No recreational vehicle shall be placed kept or maintained except in the rear or side yard of any parcel of land within the city, nor beyond the front of any structure upon said property, nor within six (6) feet of the side yard line of an interior lot, nor within fifteen (15) feet of the side yard line or a corner lot, which side yard line abuts a street or alley, nor within fifteen (15) feet of the rear property line, nor within five (5) feet of any structure located upon said property."
For more information:
If you missed the city council workshop on Jan. 17, you can watch it online on the City of Gulfport's website.
What's Next for RV Regulations? (Dec. 2012)
Loosened RV Regulations Moving Forward (Oct. 2012)
Editor's Note: Gulfport Patch has attached Fred Metcalf's last presentation to this article for more information.