Proposed RV Storage Ban Strikes Up Controversy

A proposal to ban storage of RVs on front lawns drew a standing room-only crowd at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

Looking for a cheap, low-key way to travel with her three children, Jennifer Gassner made the decision to buy an RV, which she keeps parked in front of her Altura Road home.

Before going through with the purchase, Gassner says she carefully researched all associated costs with RV ownership: Insurance, maintenance, gas, licensing, registration and the like.

She never factored in storage fees, however, because she didn't have to.

Now, a proposed amendment to city code could ban Arcadia residents from parking RVs — which includes boats, motorcycles and buses — within public view on any property zoned for residential use.

That means Gassner would have to fork out $70-$182 per month to keep her trailer at one of the two storage facilities located within five miles of the city.

"If I have to store my RV, it will increase my cost of ownership about 40 percent," she said.

Gassner was among 31 Arcadia residents who spoke out against the proposed amendment Tuesday before the City Council, which ultimately opted to wait until its Sept. 4 meeting to vote on it.

Nearly every single seat in the Council Chambers was filled as RV owners waited to take their turn at the podium. No one spoke in favor of the proposed amendment, although city officials say they have received four formal written complaints from homeowners claiming neighbors parking RVs within public view "created an eyesore."

One of those complaints came from Ron Durham's neighbor. Durham owns a box trailer which he uses to haul race cars.

Ironically, when December's wind storm caused a that left around 35,000 customers in Arcadia without electricity for days, he opened up the trailer to his neighbors so they could charge their cell phones and lap tops.

He said he even provided coffee.

Durham told the Council he takes care of both his trailer and his property, and not having the right to store the RV at home does nothing but infringe upon his freedom.

"What else will you guys decide we can't have?" he asked Council members.

Ed Winter said he felt "offended someone thinks my trailer is an eyesore,"
and that the city did not give proper notice to residents about Tuesday's public hearing. He only showed up, he said, because "six guys drove by in a truck handing out flyers" advertising the meeting to him and other RV owners in the neighborhood.

Assistant City Manager Jason Kruckeberg countered the city sent out notices advertising various Planning Commission hearings on the amendment to several local media outlets. However, he acknowledged the city only sent out notice advertising Tuesday's hearing to one weekly paper.

Councilman Gary Kovacic expressed mixed feelings on the proposed amendment.

"I'm truly on the fence on this one," he said.

Mayor Bob Harbicht said he felt reluctant to restrict property rights.

"I don't want to restrict private property rights without good reason," Harbicht said, citing property values as an example of such a reason. And property values "are impacted by having an RV parked in your (neighbor's) front yard."

Harbicht also noted that no one came to the meeting to express their support for the proposed amendment, before concluding "the impact on RV owners is greater than the impact on their neighbors."

In Gassner's case, the amendment's passage would give her no choice but to sell her RV. Frustrated, Gassner had just three words for neighbors who might complain about the RV parked on her property.

"Get over it," she said, as supporters broke into cheers and applause.

lael August 09, 2012 at 02:31 PM
The hideous mansions are the eye sores in Arcadia! How many letters will it take to get a hearing!? If no one even showed up to support the issue, please leave the RV's alone. Who can blame anyone for wanting a "get out of town" vehicle at the ready?!
charlene martinez August 09, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Thank you City Council for listening to us the RV owners. We have lived in Arcadia for 45 years and enjoy using our RV to camp with our children and grandchildren, sometimes on a moments notice. We also use our RV to store emergency supplies in case of a disaster. We take pride in the appearance of our RV.
John B August 13, 2012 at 07:38 PM
To ban RV's then Motorcycles, Boats, anything not a car was a crazy idea, I cannot understand how the planning commission meeting even thought of this, what is next large SUV's Mini Van ban? RV parking is an Asset to your property.
John B August 13, 2012 at 08:41 PM
After the Northridge earthquake, my sisters house was almost leveled and uninhabitable along with many of her neighbors houses. I drove my RV to their house and it became the center point of the neighborhood for cooked food and a central meeting place and information center for the whole block. If we needed the same help in Arcadia I would do the same for my neighbors and I think every RV'r would do the same. So next time you drive down a street and see an RV parked in someones yard think about who will help you in the next disaster, we all remember the wind power outage and how fast the government responded.
Dean Ashby May 03, 2013 at 09:16 AM
Hello from Sydney! This is a very interesting article as I don’t think it’s a major issue where the owner parks his/her RV, as long as it’s not in the middle of the road! I know of a few people in Sydney who stores their RV in an RV storage facility as they don’t have space in their yards or garage. If that’s the case, I think it makes perfect sense. However, I’m not sure I understand how a vehicle cannot be parked in one’s property. Unless the vehicle is blocking an emergency route, I don’t think the ruling is fair. A friend of mine used to have an RV in our younger days. We used it for the storage of all fun stuff and we regularly went on road trips in it. He still has the RV but I think he uses it for the storage of stuff his wife doesn’t want in the house.


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