SOLANA BEACH — According to the current law, anyone with a recreational vehicle “could move that bus a few feet down the block every 24 hours and they could stay there virtually forever.”
That will soon change as council members at the May 13 meeting adopted the first reading of an ordinance that places new restrictions on RV parking on public streets.
The city code currently allows motor homes and campers to be parked on public streets and in public parking lots for no more than 24 consecutive hours. Under the new law that limit will be reduced to no more than eight hours.
Anyone who wants to park an RV longer will be required to have a permit, which will be free.
Residents can complete the application online. Code Enforcement will review it and email the permit within eight business hours.
Staff plans to look into acquiring a software program that will allow self-issuance for this and other required city permits.
With a permit the vehicle can remain for no more than five days per month and a maximum of 60 days a year.
Vehicles without a valid permit will receive a one-time warning that includes an explanation of the permit process. Owners would have one day to obtain one.
RVs must be parked on the same side of the street and within 300 feet of the property of the owner or the person they are visiting. They will also be required to be at least 50 feet from an intersection.
Parking would be prohibited in public lots between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Vehicles less than 22 feet long and 7 feet high and wide are exempt from the new rules. Boats and trailers cannot be parked on public streets or right of ways from more than two hours.
Councilwoman Ginger Marshall said she had been going back and forth on supporting the changes until an “unattractive converted bus” recently parked in front of her neighbor’s house.
“I was afraid who was going to come out of it,” she said, adding that she could tolerate looking at it for 24 hours, but not a week.
“My feeling is that RVs belong in RV parks,” she said. “That’s why we have RV parks. … I’m not going to support a one-week parking permit for RVs on public streets in Solana Beach.”
“Part of the intention here is to allow visitors to come in and park and hang out at their friend’s house,” Councilman Dave Zito said. “The issue that exists today is that if a person wanted to be there all they’d have to do is move that bus a few feet down the block every 24 hours and they could stay there virtually forever.
“My primary concern is that the eight hours might be a little difficult to enforce,” he added. “I think that once every month for the same vehicle is a little bit too frequent but I’m actually OK adopting and trying the ordinance as we have it.
“The intent here is to reduce the issues that are had today,” Zito said. “We can always amend the ordinance later if it isn’t accomplishing its desired objectives.”
Councilman Mike Nichols agreed, saying he spoke with and RV owner who told him the new laws were “generous ordinance.”
“See if it works,” Nichols said. “If it doesn’t work we’ll address it.”
Marshall opposed the rules in a 3-1-1 vote, with Mayor Lesa Heebner absent. The ordinance will be adopted at a second reading within the next month and go into effect 30 days after that.