Government / Politics

Hollister changes RV and boat storage ordinance, fines 

Recreational vehicles may now be stored in private residences under certain circumstances.

On Feb. 21 the Hollister City Council voted unanimously to adopt two resolutions that amended the city’s municipal code regarding the storage of recreational vehicles and boats, as well as the administrative citation penalties and charges related to violations of the RV and boat section. The amendments will be officially adopted with a second reading at the March 6 meeting.

The stated reason for the first resolution, according to city documents, is to increase safety in the city by preventing large RVs from being stored on the street in a way that creates hazardous conditions and impedes the flow of traffic. 

The resolution took the position that RVs “are a blight or nuisance when stored in a deleterious manner.” So, the council directed the Hollister Police Department to recommend amendments to the current ordinance, allowing driveway parking under certain conditions and creating a permit program allowing for street parking or driveway parking during times when owners are preparing for trips. As for the accompanying resolution, regarding fines, the resolution stated that “fines are not meant as a source of revenue for the city but are meant as a deterrent.”

In the first resolution’s amendments, only one RV and/or one boat may be parked or maintained in the a single-family residence under the following conditions:

  • They must be less than 30 feet in length each, less than 12 feet in height and less than eight feet in width (only for rear storage).
  • They are located in a permitted rear yard or side yard.
  • They must be at least 18 inches from any property line, at least five feet from any building used for occupancy and at least five feet from any building overhang attached to a building used for human occupancy
  • There is a minimum setback of three feet from adjoining properties and three feet from any inhabited structure, including a garage.
  • They cannot block secondary exits or encroach upon the public right-of-way.
  • They shall be stored on the residence’s primary driveway or on a properly permitted and approved pad that is in compliance with applicable rain runoff standards.
  • They must have a valid and current DMV registration, corresponding to a current resident of the property where it is being stored, and it is not under a Planned Nonoperation Filing status.
  • They must be operable and shall not be stored in a dismantled state, or with severe damage.
  • They shall not be stored with open slide-outs. They shall not be connected to power or water, and not be inhabited at any time unless it is being actively cleaned, repaired, loaded or unloaded.

    An RV parked on a driveway in Hollister. Photo by Noe Magaña.
    An RV parked on a driveway in Hollister. Photo by Noe Magaña.

Owners may apply for a permit allowing them to temporarily park the RVs in their driveway or the public roadway in front of their residence for 72 hours to preparing for a trip or who are unloading, cleaning or repairing an RV and/or boat after a trip. Only four permits per owner will be issued per month and 15 in a single calendar year.

Under the second resolution to amend administrative citation penalties, the violations can result in the following fines: $30 for a first offense, $70 for a second offense, $140 for repeat violations of the same code provision occurring within 12 months from the date of the previous administrative citation.

Hollister Police Chief Carlos Reynoso expressed concern about the lowering of fines from $250, $500, $750, and $1,000 to no avail. He reasoned that by reducing the fines it would create a situation where RV owners would not be deterred by a citation because it would amount to less than or comparable to the cost of storing the RV. He also argued lower fines would lead to more staff time being used to enforce the ordinance.


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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]