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St. Cloud residents (RV parking proposal)

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The city may decide tonight if you can park your camper/boat/trailer on your property. If you haven't called the mayor or your representative, today may be your last shot to have a say.

Our View: RV proposals provide rational solution

Times Editorial Board

July 16, 2007

The St. Cloud City Council tonight is set to discuss and possibly decide whether to update the city's definition of recreational vehicles and the rules governing storage of them on residential lots.

If they so desire, council members could turn this issue into the residential equivalent of the completely subjective (and never-ending) debate about regulating signs and billboards.

Just like that issue, the storage of RVs has no perfect, one-size-fits-all answer. The city should set standards that allow some flexibility and best suit a majority of residents.

We believe these proposals do that. They have the support of city staff and were unanimously endorsed by the city's planning commission.

We also recommend the city develop and implement an informational campaign so residents are aware of the changes by the time they take effect, ideally a month from now.

That's important because the new proposal essentially defines "RV" to cover anything that you tow behind a vehicle, right down to that trailer used for hauling compost.

The proposals include:

» Allowing up to two RVs stored in a residential area, if at least one is smaller than 20 feet in length and 6 feet in height. The larger vehicle may not exceed 40 feet in length.

» RVs smaller than 20 feet long and 6 feet high can be stored on an improved surface in a side yard or on either an improved or landscaped surface in a backyard if not located in a setback area. Vehicles 20 feet to 40 feet in length can be stored only on improved surfaces in the backyard if not located in a setback area.

» RVs smaller than 20 feet long and 6 feet high must be parked 5 feet or more from all property lines. Those 20 to 40 feet long must be parked at least 15 feet from all property lines.

Overall, the changes do a commendable job of maintaining a residential environment, accommodating varying lot and RV sizes and understanding that many people own more than one such, uh, toy.

Admittedly, residents who own motorhomes or campers and small lots will face the biggest challenge under these rules. We reiterate that there is no perfect solution.

And no, "grandfathering" in them — or any other RV owner — should not happen. That only creates more problems — and double standards — than it solves.

Similarly, we object to Mayor Dave Kleis's suggestion that there should be no ordinance because there are no complaints.

That's only asking for trouble in the form of residential lots that will begin to look like RV dealerships.

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