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City discusses RV parking rules

SOLANA BEACH — In response to a spike in complaints, Solana Beach council members at the March 11 meeting discussed possibly changing the regulations for parking recreational vehicles on city streets.

Community Development Director Wendé Protzman said there has been a significant increase in complaints during the past six months. Specifically, three residents sent emails last month asking city officials to address their concerns regarding two recreational vehicles they say are parked consistently on South Nardo Avenue.

“They are an eyesore and devalue the neighborhood, in addition to posing a hazard when parked near driveways as they pose a visual impediment to oncoming traffic along what can be a very busy road at times,” Adrienne Davenport wrote.

Gayle Wells described the vehicles as “unsightly and a nuisance to all on our street.”

The city code allows motor homes and campers to be parked on public streets and in public parking lots for no more than 24 consecutive hours. Boats and boat and camp trailers are limited to two hours.

To address complaints, staff presented a handful of recommendations, such as prohibiting overnight parking, restricting parking hours or locations and developing a permit program that allows temporary parking.

Councilman Mike Nichols said the city needs a clear definition of what a recreational vehicle is.

“I think a minimal effect is probably the most desired, something that you could incrementally grow if it doesn’t address the problem, but giving neighbors an ability to call in versus don’t make it a code enforcement seek-and-destroy kind of thing, you know where they’re just out looking for issues,” he added.

Nichols also said he supports a permit program that is simple and inexpensive, if not free.

Councilman Dave Zito said the city needs to find easier and more effective ways to enforce the regulations.

“I think most people who have really large vehicles should be expecting to store them somewhere else rather than on the public streets,” he added.

“I’ve seen too many RVs parked around, whether they’re considered oversized or just are RVs,” Mayor Lesa Heebner said. “They are used in the same manner and they just sit there for a very long period of time.

“Whether they’re pretty and expensive or ugly and unsightly is not my concern,” she added. “It’s just that they are there and they are blocking things.”

Heebner said she also supports a permit program that’s “enforceable and fair to neighbors.”

She said she didn’t want owners to be able “to get out of it” just by moving the vehicle every few hours.

Councilwoman Ginger Marshall said she didn’t support any changes to current regulations.

“I don’t see the issue,” she said. “We have a 24-hour parking regulation for RVs. I think neighbors should be able to work it out. … I don’t think we need an extra ordinance at this point.”

“It’s a recurring problem,” Zito said. “I wouldn’t say it’s an insurmountable problem from a volume perspective, but it’s definitely not a single instance. That’s just my personal experience. Staff may have more evidence as well.”

“For whatever reason in the last six months this has been most complaints (Tom Warden has) received on this particular issue,” Protzman said.

Warden, from the Code Enforcement Department, has worked for the city for 23 years, she said.

Staff will return with a report that includes council preferences at a future meeting.