What a Weekend - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-16-2007, 09:27 AM   #1
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Remember the old Hee Haw song.... "IF it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all...."

Well, I'm having much more fun than should be allowed.

Seems a (I supposing here) new neighbor of the stroller pushing set has decided to clean up the neighborhood. Unfortunately for me and several neighbors along the street, that includes our travel trailers. When I moved into this area, TTs were parked in driveways and at time of use, on the street. No one has had any issue with this. Until now.

Apparently, the zoning regulations are not enforced until someone makes the trek to the zoning office to complain. Which happened. My lovely little egg was deemed derelict and unregistered in the letter I received from the zoning board. Well, they didn't look too hard, because it is registered and works just fine thank you.

As my ex-OTR trucker friend was backing the Egg Krate up the driveway to get it off the street; one of the other TT owners stopped by. Apparently parking a TT in the driveway isn't going to fly either. They said they aren't moving theirs and they are going to fight the ticket. I asked them what the tickets would cost us and they said nothing. I think I will check out my rights here, but man, what an inconvenience. Does anyone know if you can get a restraining order for a PITA neighbor, so they can't walk by your house and get upset about your perfectly harmless TT?

I have determined, I can't back my rig for beans. I know how to back a trailer, but could not manage it with the short wheelbase of the Wrangler and the Egg. After several trips around the block and over an hour of trying. I called my friend, offered lunch and all the laughing at me I could stand, if she'd just be soooo kind as to get the trailer onto the driveway. Which God bless her, she did. She told me later she even found it difficult to manage. Guess that's another skill I'll have to work on.
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Old 09-16-2007, 09:44 AM   #2
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Bonnie,

Remember that free advice is worth what you pay for it. Go to your local zoning office and get the orndinance(s) that pertain to the issue at hand. I can understand them limiting parking to some period of time on the street (and maybe long-term yard storage), but driveways are built and intended for the parking of licensed vehicles. Consult an attorney if you need clarification of any of the provisions of the ordinance.

See exactly what it says, and then campaign for an ordinance change to read what it is you want it to read. If worst comes to worst, I'm sure you'll gain enough signatures for a local ballot initiative. More than likely, your City Council when faced with packed chambers, will amend the ordinance in the fashion you want.

Good luck with this one!

Roger
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Old 09-16-2007, 11:16 AM   #3
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There's always some pecksniff that wants to improve the world according to their own version of what's right. Unfortunately there are probably more folks without TTs than with. Hard to tell what kind of "packing" that chamber will get if it comes to that. Good luck!
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Old 09-16-2007, 12:57 PM   #4
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Local regulations vary widely, and I don't pretend to know anything about those in St. Louis. Also, my posts are free, so you know what they're worth! Nevertheless, a couple of items to ponder...

While driveways are indeed for parking vehicles, residential neighborhoods are for residential activities, not necessarily business or recreational ones. It is not uncommon for municipal regulations or subdivision covenants to limit the size or type of vehicles which are parked in driveways, particularly in front of the house.

Trades people who take their work vehicle home (e.g. plumbers) often find that they cannot park it in their driveway, and it is common to require recreational vehicles - both motorhomes and trailers - to be parked beside or behind the house, and often behind a fence. I know people with garages having doors on both the front and the back, so their trailers can be pulled right through and stored in the back yard even though there is not space to get by the house/garage on the side.

Bylaw enforcement officers are likely to be both better informed and more reasonable than a random pesky neighbor - particularly one who complains to the city without even talking to you first. I suggest talking calmly with the enforcement people - remembering that they are not your adversary - and explaining that the trailer is both licensed and quite functional. The trailer may still not be legal for other reasons, but they can help explain that.
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Old 09-16-2007, 02:34 PM   #5
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It's going to be quite the shock, if this neighborhood has covenants, because I've never seen them. Far as I know we don't have a neighborhood association, but that might not be totally accurate. I don't pay dues, nor do I get any sort of mailings about neighborhood info.

No room beside the house for the TT. I'm thinking about downsizing and now I have more reason.

The Zoning office is my first stop on Monday or Tuesday. Working 3rd shift makes those sorts of things really a pain. I will find out what my legal options are too, along the way. I had already investigated storing the TT at a regular storage place, but the renovations will be so much slower then.

I may also choose to make a zoning change effort. There's plenty of boats, tt, SeaDoos and such in the neighborhood.

Zoning enforcement by complaint is not very helpful.

Bonnie
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Old 09-16-2007, 03:20 PM   #6
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The Good Sam Club published an "RV Parking Rights Manual". You might want to talk to them, as they have been involved in conflicts all over the country for years. It is important to find out what the ordinance or CC&R actually says is prohibited, ie sometimes an RV can be stored behind a fence or screen, but not in front or on the street. We have a CC&R prohibiting RV storage, but it's rarely enforced, so people are currently keeping them on their property in our neighborhood. I gather that city ordinances, once in place, are tougher to deal with. Good Luck!
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Old 09-16-2007, 03:48 PM   #7
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My approach would be to read the Good Sam stuf and take Roger's advice to see everything in writing. Also check your deed, because that's what you agreed to (or not) if covenants exist.

If all else fails, then consider getting your other neighbors together to erect tacky stuf on all your front lawns until your neighbor caves on the RV complaints. I highly doubt either the City or the enforcers (unless you have buttheads; be careful not to make any!!) care if there are no complaints because this really isn't a health or safety issue. Also, when reading the restrictions, keep an eye out for any your neighbor may be violating
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Old 09-17-2007, 12:32 PM   #8
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The Good Sams site was very helpful.

Made it to the Zoning office today. Got the restrictions, which were written in the 60s when the addition went in -- I can't have farm animals. It's literally four pages long including signatures.

Asked for and got a copy of the complaint. Get this. It was my <span style="font-size:12pt;line-height:100%">Jeep</span>, the lovely lady was complaining about. I was flabbergasted. The zoning lady asked me if it ran. Yes. If it was registered. Yes. If it had insurance. Yes. I told her it's my only vehicle. She couldn't explain the rationale for that one. Wonder if the neighbors will take up a collection to get me an acceptable vehicle?

There is a zoning regulation about parking TT and boat and such in front of your properly. The rule is beside/behind the house or in the garage. No hope there for me. Asked for and got the request for variance. Each owner has to apply and pay. $200. No assurance it would be approved. If it is; it's permanent. I'm thinking long and hard about that one.

Seems the hardy soul complained about nearly every house in the subdivision which didn't meet her criteria. The zoning lady smiled very sympathetically when she told me she's been on the phone almost non-stop. Apparently I'm not the only one who's a bit peeved.
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
It's going to be quite the shock, if this neighborhood has covenants, because I've never seen them. Far as I know we don't have a neighborhood association, but that might not be totally accurate. I don't pay dues, nor do I get any sort of mailings about neighborhood info.
Although it is not a covenant in this case, I would not assume that the lack of some sort neighborhood organization means anything. Restrictions which are specific to the subdivision are sometimes applied to ensure some desired aspect of the area, and built into the conditions for municipal approval of the subdivision development, without any sort of ongoing organization to administrate them.

For instance, I can't cut down a living tree in my yard, according to the subdivision covenants, because the developer wanted to ensure a nicely treed environment. Good intentions, but also good that it is not overly strictly enforced, since trees do need to be managed.
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:08 PM   #10
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There is a zoning regulation about parking TT and boat and such in front of your properly. The rule is beside/behind the house or in the garage. No hope there for me. Asked for and got the request for variance. Each owner has to apply and pay. $200. No assurance it would be approved. If it is; it's permanent. I'm thinking long and hard about that one.
Since it is permanent, I assume that the variance would apply to later owners. This could slightly improve the value and saleability of the property later, especially if these variances get more expensive or less available in the future.
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Old 09-17-2007, 09:45 PM   #11
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Bonnie, If you don't mind, would you share which of the suburbs of St. Louis you are in? There are so many little towns in St. Louis county.

I'm over in Mascoutah, next to Scott AFB.

Sorry to hear of your hassle. Make sure you respond to them in writing (or what ever is needed to get the complaint and notice removed from your record) explaining how they are wrong.

I got hassled because someone thought I had too many vehcles. Yes, I'm over the number allowed by zoning ordinance. All 5 were parked in my drive way, on the dead end side street, or in my back yard. I offered to start any of them and drive them around the block, but that wasn't good enough. I've since gotten rid of two of the vehicles, so now I'm legal.

Good luck with the volunteer code enforcement officer, other wise know as trouble maker.

Curt
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:51 AM   #12
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Curtis, I'm actually located in Belleville, near SWIC and Scott AFB, too. When I signed up I chose STL because no one would know where Belleville was. Guess I should change it. It's the St. Claire County Zoning Board that's the enforcing entity. They have been very helpful. I have no complaints about that side of this saga at all.

As an aside, it looks like there's a lot more eggs in the area than I thought. We should plan an egg gathering somewhere close. I'd love it.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:58 AM   #13
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Bonnie,

I hate to be a contrarian, but I would not presume on the good nature of my neighbors to look at my trailer on the street in front of my home for an extended period of time.
There are probably more than you know that do not like it in front of your home.
Do your self a favor and go to a large parking lot or field and practice backing your trailer. Use your mirrors when backing up, angle them down slightly so you can see both the jeep the trailer and you will notice the trailer movement much more quickly. I used to tow my ATV trailer and my aluminium boat with a Suzuki Samuria so I know what short is.
I am an old guy and have have an RV of some sort all of my life, so please don't think that I am unsympathetic to you problem, I have been through it a time or two.

Good luck, I hope you you will be able to keep it in your driveway.
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Old 09-18-2007, 09:12 PM   #14
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I hope you can get the variance approved. Are you on a thru street or one of the dead-enders? Are there cars or pickups regularly parked on the street?

Sending you a PM

Curt
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