This article was written by BenitoLink intern Alexis Castro Juarez
The Hollister City Council is considering changes to its rules on parking recreational vehicles, which prohibit parking on city streets and driveways. The council directed staff to amend the current ordinance to allow storage of RVs in the front driveway of a home under certain conditions and to revise fines. The changes will be considered by the council at a future meeting.
Under the proposed changes, RVs could be stored inside fully enclosed structures such as a garage, in rear or side yards and driveways provided they meet height and length requirements.
According to the Hollister Police Department, there have been numerous complaints over the years from residents about the parking of large vehicles such as trailers, boats, motorhomes and utility trailers.
According to the Jan. 17 agenda packet, residents have complained about RVs being illegally parked on the street, front driveways of homes and people living in them.
Among the changes the city is considering is removing a 14-day allowance for driveway parking and replacing it with a permit system for loading and unloading of recreational vehicles before and after outings.
According to the agenda, the ordinance aims to provide tools to the police and code enforcement to cite individuals who don’t comply with the code. Hollister Police Chief Carlos Reynoso said the current fine schedule is $250, $750 and $1,000 for violations.
The agenda packet adds that the code increases safety by not allowing large RVs to be parked on the street in a way that impedes traffic flow and eliminating long-term storage of RVs in residential areas.
In December, the city conducted an online survey about RV parking.
According to the survey results, of the 480 responses, 261 identified themselves as RV owners.
Among all respondents, 56% said they believed parking RVs on the street was not a problem, but 77% said RVs should not be allowed to be parked or stored there.
- 66% said the city should allow RV parking in driveways.
- 55% said that owners not finding an acceptable, convenient or safe place to store RVs is a reasonable excuse to allow parking.
- 58% said they support a 72-hour program to park motorhomes or boats on the street in front of a home or driveway for loading and unloading.
- Of those supporting the 72-hour program, 48% believe in an annual limit of permits.
Resident Doug Vol told the council that he has been an RV owner for 10 years and just recently was contacted by code enforcement about the vehicle parked in his driveway.
He said while the changes allow him to park his RV at his home, he doesn’t understand the cover requirement.
“Those covers create more visual clutter and blight, which for me makes it hideous,” Vol said. “My neighbors don’t have an issue with me parking my trailer where it is now, but I’ll bet you when I start putting a cover on, they’re going to say ‘why did you do that?’ I don’t understand the reason for that and I think the intent is to eliminate visual clutter [but] you’re going to be shooting yourself in the foot to require those.”
Councilman Tim Burns later requested to remove the cover requirement because it meant code enforcement would have to apply for a warrant to get vehicle information, as license plates are likely to not be visible.
Resident Louk Markham asked why cars can park on streets but not other vehicles.
“Why is parking a boat or an RV any different than parking a car or a truck?” he said. “Whether I have a 4×4 truck trailer or a single motorcycle, what public safety service is really met by restricting what’s been on my driveway for 10 years?”
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