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Strasburg officials look at RV rules

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

Strasburg officials say some residents park too many recreational vehicles on their properties.

But the proposed changes to the town's rules on storing such vehicles spurred some complaints from residents who use RVs.

Town Manager Judson Rex indicated Wednesday the change in the zoning ordinance would not outlaw recreational vehicles from private residential properties. Rex explained the proposed changes would continue to allow for the parking of such vehicles in the side or rear yard of a residential lot. However, the regulation would call for such vehicles to be included when calculating the lot coverage, according to Rex. This calculation may limit the number of such vehicles that can park on properties.

Council plans to discuss the proposed ordinance at a work session set for 7 p.m. Monday. The matter will go back to the ordinance committee and the panel could make a recommendation to council, Rex said.

Complaints prompted town zoning officials to look into the issue. Now the effort to address the issue has drawn complaints from RV owners.

"We had ... a lot of complaints about people having too many RVs, too many trailers in their yard and them being overgrown with things and really detracting from the appearance of the neighborhood," Rex said Wednesday. "In an effort to try to resolve those concerns we approached council and the ordinance committee about drafting some new language for the code."

Town Zoning Administrator Laura O'Dell also looked into the issue of recreational vehicles and provided the ordinance committee with locations which prompted some of the complaints, according to Rex. Committee members may visit some of the sites to see what prompted the complaints, Rex said.

But, if approved and adopted as a zoning regulation, enforcement would remain complaint-driven as with other ordinances, Rex explained.

Strasburg and most localities already prohibit the parking of any recreational vehicles in the front yards of residential lots. Strasburg restricts lot coverage to either 25 or 30 percent, depending on the zoning district in which the property is located, Rex explained. Regulations currently include all permanent structures and impervious surfaces when calculating lot coverage.

If a homeowner has a 8,000-square-foot lot in the R-2 residential zone, ordinance restricts lot coverage to 2,400 square feet or 30 percent, according to Rex. If a property includes a 1,500-square-foot building footprint, a 400-square-foot paved driveway measuring 16 feet by 25 feet, and a 12-square-foot shed, the resident still could park a large, 8 feet by 30 feet, recreational vehicle on the lot, according to Rex.

Town officials looked at regulations other localities use to govern the parking of recreational vehicles, Rex said. The town attorney recommended council look at restricting the placement of recreational vehicles based on the size of the residential lot, according to Rex.

"So if you had a larger lot and could fit more recreational vehicles on your lot you could do that," Rex said. "If you had a smaller lot and cramming three RVs onto a small lot, that's going to detract from the character of the neighborhood and so that's discouraged."

Some other localities address the parking of recreational vehicles on private, residential properties as follows:

  • Woodstock: In residential districts, no motor homes, recreational vehicles, trailers or boats shall be parked on the public street right-of-way. No more than two of any combination of the above cited vehicles shall be parked on a residential lot. No parking of any of the above cited vehicles shall be permitted in a front yard of a residential lot for a period longer than 72 hours. No such vehicle may be connected to a private or public utility for the purpose of being used for any form of habitation on a residential lot or public street right-of-way.

  • Mount Jackson: A maximum total of two vehicles in any combination of the following types: boat, boat trailer, utility trailer up to 20 feet in length, travel trailers, recreational trailer, or motor home. Such vehicles shall not be located within the minimum yard or setback requirements and shall be prohibited from occupancy. However, such vehicles owned by the property owner or property lessee may be located in the setback area on driveways or parking areas with all weather surfaces within said lot.

  • Shenandoah County: Recreational vehicle, provided that the recreational vehicle is on the property no more than 30 consecutive days and is removed from the property for at least 14 consecutive days each time it is removed. No more than two recreational vehicles may be kept on the owner's property as an accessory use, provided that there is a dwelling on the property, the recreational vehicles are not used for overnight occupation, and the recreational vehicles are not parked in any required front yard.

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