Planning Commission discusses parking regulations for RVs | ParkRecord.com

Planning Commission discusses parking regulations for RVs

Clarity and definitions to Land Management Code will allow more flexibility

Monika Guendner
Park Record guest writer

At the center of proposed changes to how recreational vehicles can be stored in residential areas of Park City is a rock.

Gravel, to be more specific.

Currently, gravel driveways are allowed in Park City; gravel xeriscaping and parking spaces are not.

Wednesday, the definition and use of gravel mulch became the center of a larger discussion about parking of recreational vehicles. A handful of residents attended, and were generally positive about the propose changes.

Planner Tippe Morlan from the Park City Planning Department presented the revised changes to the parking ordinances meant to define, clarify and in some areas, deregulate the code of where RVs can park.

But to do so, the planning department needed to define what size "gravel" is, problems occurring with the use of gravel, and how and where it can be used.

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Gravel for parking

Currently, any recreational vehicle (RV), defined as a non-passenger vehicles like motor homes, boats, trailers, ATVs and similar types, must park in the street and observe parking regulations, such as 72-hour time limits.

The proposed changes to the Land Management Code are meant to clarify the code for enforcement, as well as deregulate some of the restrictions, said Planning Director Bruce Crane.

Changes allow RVs to park on the side of a home or in the driveway, as long as two off-street parking spaces are still available. A 30-consecutive-day time limit will also replace the current prohibition of RVs between April 1 and Nov. 1.

Pavers (a brick, tile, stone, or block that allows grass to grow in between) and permeable pavement are also added to concrete and asphalt as approved surfaces for parking pads. According to the report, pads are meant to prevent oil and runoff liquids from permeating the ground soil and storm water systems. Gravel mulch is not on the list.

Other restrictions added to RVs parked on residential properties include; not allowing a cover on the vehicle, except for boats; a limit of two recreational vehicles on the property and vehicles parked on the side of a house cannot protrude beyond the façade.

Why focus on gravel?

Xeriscaping's use of gravel would also be affected by any codified definitions, and so landscaping use of gravel was also addressed.

Rocks smaller than two inches diameter, the Planning Department's proposed definition of gravel or gravel mulch, is a popular ground cover for water-wise landscaping, but is "100 percent prohibited" right now, Planning Director Bruce Erickson said in the meeting. Gravel driveways are allowed.

He attributed its use to confusion of what gravel is, and the necessity to be more mindful of ground covering than was needed earlier. Commission members and public input comments countered that there was also a period where gravel was allowed. Erickson could not confirm this.

The planning department typically receives numerous complaints from citizens tied to gravel runoff into streets, especially near driveway corners and after snow melt, Erickson said. City infrastructure gets damaged from this runoff, storm water is negatively affected, as well as cyclists and pedestrians, and the visual appeal of the neighborhood is harmed.

Going forward

Since gravel mulch xeriscaping was never allowed in the city code, landscapes currently featuring the small rocks cannot be grandfathered in to compliance, said Morlan.

Proposed changes would allow for use of gravel mulch in xeriscaping when accompanied by vegetation or larger boulders up to 50 percent of the yard. Gravel driveways would not be included, but both features should have a hard surface barrier to 'catch' scattering gravel.

Enforcement of current and proposed codes are to be complaint-based, relying on neighbors to self-police their neighborhoods. Park Meadows resident David Staley rose during public input to voice a concern with that type of enforcement, saying that self-policing can cause strife between residents, eroding the sense of community if complaints become spiteful.

Staley also asked the commission to consider gravel covering for parking pads of non-motorized recreational vehicles, such as trailers or boats, since the scatter would not be as wide-spread.

Old Town resident Marianne Cone also spoke during public input, asking the commission to consider other surfaces for parking RVs, fitting the needs and intentions of the code, but are not included in the list. The exclusion would, in essence, make appropriate surfaces non-compliant, she said.

Changes to the code covering parking of recreational vehicles are detailed and broad, but will ultimately translate into more latitude for vehicle owners and landscaping, Erickson said.