At its January 29 meeting, the city council will vote on a new ordinance that would offer free parking permits for recreational vehicles for up to 144 days a year for a resident, 18 days for an out of town visitor. According to the draft proposal, the new law is intended to respond to "an increase in complaints regarding the parking and /or storage of Oversized Vehicles." As one who's complained about how often they've put my safety at risk by blocking the view of oncoming traffic on side streets, my response to the proposed law is, don't do me any favors.
Eliminating permanent RV parking will definitely be a big improvement. But this proposal will wind up being costly to taxpayers and is weakened by attempting to accommodate motor home owners. It may be better to start over again.
Here are its two major problems.
Parking permits will allow a resident to park an oversized vehicle for four periods of up to 72 hours per calendar month, making it possible for an RV to be parked in front of an owner's house every weekend year-round. Out of town guests of residents may be granted permits for up to six periods per year of up to 72 hours each, an additional 18 days, bringing the yearly total to 162 days of allowable curbside parking. City streets may become slightly safer for drivers and less trashy by getting rid of permanent parking, but the visual blight will remain.
Among the reasons listed for denying a parking permit for up to one year include a two-strikes provision that penalizes an applicant who has violated the parking time limits two or more times, as well as out-of-town visitors who are "not a guest of the applicant." There's no definition of who qualifies as a "guest." The new law will either increase the burden on compliance code officers or will be left mostly unenforced, creating more of the complaints city leaders want to reduce.
I'm guessing it will be the latter, since permits will be free and the cost of assuring compliance has not been addressed. Stepping up compliance enforcement without a parking permit fee is likely to mean the costs will be borne by city taxpayers.
Although the ordinance is well-intentioned, it's far too lenient to make much of a difference to those who share my complaints about RV parking. Seems to me the hulking eyesores will continue to be as obstructive and detrimental to the attractiveness of the city's neighborhoods as they are now.
Richard J. Riehl writes from La Costa. Contact him at [email protected]