Prairie Village council members suggested this week it might be time to tighten city rules about how — and how long — people can park recreational vehicles at their homes.
At the city committee of the whole meeting Tuesday night, council members directed the Planning Commission to review the city’s code for parking recreational vehicles.
The discussion on the city’s RV storage ordinance, adopted in 1994, was sparked after the Dec. 16 council meeting, when about a dozen residents from the neighborhood around 67th Street and Nall Avenue voiced concerns about an Airstream trailer parked in that neighborhood. Residents said it had been an eyesore in the driveway for months with no signs of being moved.
Don Goldenbaum represented the group at the December meeting and said then that neighbors had repeatedly approached the owner about moving the trailer, but were unsuccessful. Goldenbaum said the trailer is not particularly ugly, but residents are concerned that more rundown vehicles could be parked permanently in yards or that camping trailers may be used for storage instead of recreational.
“There’s nothing preventing someone from storing something beat up,” Goldenbaum said at the December meeting.
The current Prairie Village code allows RVs to be parked for any amount of time as long as they are on a hard surface, 15 feet from any street, 5 feet from a side and rear property line and behind the front line of the home. An RV can be parked in front of a home for maintenance or cleaning for no longer than 72 hours. The RV that raised the issue meets the guidelines.
Prairie Village homeowners associations can place their own restrictions on RV parking in their neighborhoods.
In Overland Park, vehicles must be as far away from property lines as possible and be covered if they exceed a size requirement. Leawood requires RVs to be screened all year, and if a vehicle exceeds the 6-foot fencing limit, the owner must find another way to screen it from view. Mission Hills does not allow RVs to be visible.
Prairie Village Councilman Andrew Wang would like the Planning Commission to develop a strong but simple definition of “recreational vehicle.” The city currently defines such vehicles as camping trailers, boats and other watercrafts, vans and converted vehicles. The ordinance also restricts large trucks, such as those used for towing and commercial work.
Police Chief Wes Jordan said the current definition makes code enforcement difficult at times, but most complaints are about recreational vehicles parked in a driveway longer than 72 hours.
Councilwoman Laura Wassmer said if a the city can’t find a way to enforce the rules, she would support a total ban on RVs unless they’re parked in a garage.
Councilwoman Courtney McFadden suggested requiring a permit for residents who want to store their RVs for long periods of time.
The City Council would like the Planning Commission to consider several options for revising the ordinance, including screening vehicles from view, setbacks, keeping the vehicle actively licensed, not using the interior for storage, strengthening the definition of vehicles and what constitutes a hard surface, and possibly using permits to restrict how long a vehicle can remain parked.
The planning commission will review the council’s request at its Feb. 4 meeting. City administrator Quinn Bennion said the planning commission will likely set a public hearing on the matter for March.