Proposed RV rules move forward

GLADSTONE – A proposed ordinance to regulate recreational vehicles in Gladstone is moving forward. The Gladstone City Commission discussed the issue at its meeting Monday night. Complaints from the public have included RVs blocking roadways and people using the vehicles as seasonal dwellings on city streets.

A public forum on the issue was originally held on Jan. 27 with an ordinance being introduced at the Feb. 10 commission meeting. Residents voicing concerns over safety and property rights led to the ordinance being tabled twice, a second public forum being held, and the ordinance being sent back to subcommittee. Residents were encouraged to participate in the subcommittee process.

“There was good discussion at the subcommittee level, give and take on both sides, and I think that the changes are reflective of both sides and I think both sides feel a lot more comfortable about it,” said Renee Barron, Gladstone community development director and zoning administrator.

Wording in the ordinance was changed to limit the parking of vehicles on city streets to a period of time not exceeding one 48 hour period in a one week time frame.

Residents had expressed concern over rules about where recreational vehicles could be parked on private property. The updated proposal changes the setback requirements to five feet from any property line except in an established driveway, where the vehicle must be two feet from the sidewalk or not exceeding the front property line in the absence of a sidewalk. These updates keep the vehicles further from neighbors but may bring the vehicles closer to the homes of their owners.

The ordinance also states where possible RVs may not be parked directly across the street from another recreational vehicle or equipment. Recreational vehicles must also be parked in front of the owner’s residence and not across the street or in front of another person’s residence where possible. However, the language in these sections of the ordinance raised concern from some commissioners.

“In creating an ordinance those two words at the beginning of those two sentences (‘where possible’) are going to create grief and essentially deem those two things unenforceable,” said Commissioner Matt Gay.

The language was included to address the needs of homeowners who live on streets where parking is only permitted on one side of the roadway.

“I think that the intent is that this is where possible with the parking restrictions that are in place – the location if it’s possible or not,” said Public Safety Director Paul Geyer.

Rather than send the ordinance back to committee and run the risk of not having an ordinance in place by the time residents start to use their RVs, the commission decided to move forward with the ordinance as presented.

A public hearing for the ordinance will take place at the next regular commission meeting, May 12.

Also during the meeting, the city adopted a policy that allows metal detecting on public property in the city with a permit. A fee for permits will be decided at the June 16 commission meeting when the city’s fee schedule is set. The city staff is recommending the fee be around $5.

“It’s just enough to handle our paperwork and to know we’ve got somebody out there doing it,” said Geyer.

Residents with the permits would only be allowed to use metal detectors on public property with surfaces made of wood-chips, gravel, or sand, such as shorelines, playgrounds, and gravel roads. No metal detecting will be permitted on sodded areas and anyone who is found digging up or otherwise damaging sodded turf or plants in public parks while metal detecting will have their permit revoked.

“The Parks and Recreation Department at this point feels this is kind of meeting midway with the areas that are allowed,” said City Clerk Kim Berry, addressing concerns over the ban on metal detecting in sodded areas. “Again, this is a policy. It can be amended at anytime.”