recreational vehicle

A proposed code amendment would allow recreational vehicle owners to park their vehicles on any paved surface of their property in the city.

The Elk Grove City Council on Feb. 22 voted, 4-1, in favor of a proposed code amendment that would allow recreational vehicle (RV) owners to park their vehicles on any paved surface of their property. The only other conditions are that the RVs should be operable and not blocking a sidewalk or the visibility on a street corner.

The proposed amendment would repeal a setback-parking standard on private properties for recreational vehicles, which are defined as motor homes, boats, personal watercraft, and all-terrain vehicles.

When the city was incorporated in 2000, the City Council adopted Sacramento County’s zoning regulations, which allowed RV parking in setbacks, as long as they were in quality working order.

But six years later, the city adopted parking regulations that prohibited RVs from being parked in front yard driveways and lawn setbacks, and in street side setbacks at the sides of homes, along a street on corner lots. Exceptions were made for legally parked vehicles that were parked in those setbacks before Aug. 11, 2006, and for some driveways and the area between a home and side street on larger lots.

Setbacks differ by zoning district and range from 12 ½ to 50 feet.

The city also allows recreational vehicles to be parked on setbacks between two homes in backyard areas that are blocked by 6-foot walls, fences or landscaping.

Through a state vehicle code, RV owners can park their vehicles in the same location on streets for as long as 72 consecutive hours.

In some cases, the Elk Grove police chief issued extensions to visitors and guests. Those instances have involved recreational vehicles associated with business events or activities.

The local standards related to recreational vehicle parking were authorized to improve the appearances of neighborhoods.

Assistant City Manager Jason Behrmann explained that enforcement of regulations pertaining to recreational vehicles is a reactive process that is solely based on complaints.

“The only time we’re enforcing it is if your neighbor calls,” he said.

Council Member Darren Suen added that the current process provides neighbors the opportunity to solve problems with one another, as opposed to having a policy that attempts to suit all parties.

Shane Diller, the city’s assistant director of development services, noted that most related complaints occur when one neighbor is not in a position to engage with another neighbor or they feel they have exhausted all available routes.

The city has received 512 complaints since 2012, and nearly 100 percent of those cases were closed through voluntary compliance, since RV owners are given 15 days to correct their violations. Legal actions include towing vehicles under warrants.

There are currently 12 open cases, with the oldest case being about two and a half months old.

Diller mentioned that because of the reactive process to such violations, there are actually more unreported RV parking violations in Elk Grove than there are reported violations.

With the council’s vote in favor of a proposed code amendment to allow recreational vehicle owners to park their vehicles on any paved surface of their property, this proposal will be presented to the Elk Grove Planning Commission this spring. A date for that presentation has not yet been scheduled.