RV parking ordinance discussed

Ponca City Now - January 27, 2015 10:50 am

By Beverly Bryant/News Director

A family saves up for years to buy a recreational vehicle. But then the question is, where do they park it?

That’s a question Ponca City has tried to answer for more than 10 years, according to Development Services Director Chris Henderson.

Since 2002, Henderson told city commissioners Monday night, the city has discussed the issue of parking vehicles in the front yards of residences at great length. Despite all the meetings and discussions and planning, a final answer has not been found.

Yet.

Henderson presented information during the first reading of a proposed ordinance Monday. He developed the proposal after canvassing other Oklahoma communities with similarities to Ponca City.

Henderson said that 22 communities with professional city staff members regulate the parking of motor vehicles as well as recreational vehicles. His survey of those communities found that all of the other communities allow vehicles to be parked in front yards, but only on hard surfaces like concrete, asphalt or pavers.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit RVs from being parked closer than 12 feet from the curb and also prohibits blocking a sidewalk. Both points are for safety and visibility for drivers exiting driveways, Henderson said.

Mayor Homer Nicholson said Henderson had worked on this issue for years.

"This is not something we’ve dreamed up overnight," Nicholson said. "This has been going on for years. It is an ongoing problem."

Several citizens spoke to commissioners about the proposal. Most said there were other issues of greater importance to improving Ponca City’s image, such as picking up blowing trash and demolition of blighted structures.

Former city commissioner Paul Krueger, who served three terms on the board, disagreed with Henderson’s claim that the proposed ordinance is fair.

"He says it’s fair, but it’s not fair," Krueger said. "If you choose to buy a smaller home, you’re restricted on the size of RV you can have.

"I cannot access my backyard because of your utility right-of -way. I spent thousands of dollars to widen my driveway to park my RV; the neighbors bought their house next door with my RV in the driveway."

He also said that residents in some areas who live on streets which have been widened, such as North Fifth Street, have already lost some of their property. They do not have driveways long enough to park an RV under the proposed ordinance, he said.

Henderson said those homes fall under the "nonconforming properties" exception in the ordinance.

"It is difficult when you all sit up here and want to pass an ordinance to restrict people’s largest investment, their homes," Krueger told commissioners. "I would hope you would be wise about restricting people’s use of their largest investment."

The proposed ordinance will go before the board of commissioners for action on Feb. 9.

 

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