Marion RV Ordinance May Stir up Recreational Vehicle Owners

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

MARION, Iowa- A recreational debate is shaping up next week in Marion as the city council there is set to consider new rules restricting just where owners can store RV's, campers and trailers next to homes.

Last fall, a Marion homeowner complained about a neighbor's large camper sitting within a few feet of his house. He asked whether the city should restrict just how close owners can park or store such vehicles next to neighbors. City planners studied the issue and drafted some proposed rules. The Marion City Council will discuss the RV Ordinance at a public hearing set for Thursday, April 18th at 7:00 p.m. at the council chambers.

Marion resident Brion Wenhardt is one of those making plans to go to the public hearing Thursday. Wenbhardt said he looked at his options for parking his camper next to his home and decided to add a concrete pad to his driveway in front of his garage. But if Marion adopts the new rules as proposed, sticking out in front of a home like his camper does right now wouldn't be allowed.

One option for recreation vehicle owners like Wenhardt might be moving to a storage lot. But he said that's not an economical solution.

" I've heard it's anywhere from $25 to $50 dollars a month and it has to be all year if you want to hold the slot. If you're gone like we are in the winter for a month or two you still have to pay,"Wenhardt said.

Tim Wentz, owner of Truck Builders, an RV and camper repair shop, said he's spreading the word about the Marion RV ordinance. And he thinks owners will show up in force to express their displeasure.

"We pay enough taxes in this town and if they're going to try to tell me I can't park something on my own property—that won't work for me," Wentz said.

Kesha Billings, an associate planner for the city of Marion, drafted the RV Ordinance. Billings said it is true many RV owners would have to make changes if the council adopts the idea. She said RV's could not stick out past the front of the home or garage. However, such recreational vehicles could still park on asphalt or concrete pads at the sides or backs of homes.

The restriction would mean staying a certain distance away from the property line of a neighbor, based on the height of the vehicle. Since a number of residents would have to make some changes, the proposed rules would give current RV owners up to 18 months to comply.

"We're looking into 'grandfathering' these people giving them time to figure out if mine won't be in compliance how do I change so it would be or how do I find storage for this off site," Billings said.

Billings also said the proposed rules do allow any RV owner to park for up to 72 hours in a driveway to load or unload a recreational vehicle. City planners used aerial surveys to determine about a hundred larger recreational vehicles or one type or another are stored next to homes. The Marion City Council has the RV Ordinance on its agenda for Thursday night. But any action on a first reading may depend on what council members hear from the public.
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