BY DORIS B. TRUHLAR
Parking, parking everywhere, and not a rule to follow. That’s the case in Centennial, where the City Council spent more than two hours on Monday night discussing topics that have been brought up over and over again since at least 2010, and probably prior to that time.
Basically, there are two major issues, and one smaller issue. One major issue is how long a vehicle that is operational and licensed can remain parked in the same place on Centennial streets.
Another – and probably bigger – issue is the parking of recreational vehicles, including camping trailers that do not have motors, boats and other trailers. A third, but probably the least significant issue or perhaps not an issue, is whether someone may park her or his vehicles in front of someone else’s home.
As to the first issue – the length of time a vehicle can remain in the same parking space on a public street in Centennial – the council did not appear to be of one mind. There was a proposal that the council set a two-week limit on being parked in the same spot. The issue will be brought back to them later this summer, probably at the meeting on August 5.
It may not matter much, since such laws are extremely difficult to enforce. All someone would have to do is claim she or he had moved their vehicle by driving it around the block, and they would likely not be ticketed. It also seems probable that the Office of the Arapahoe County Sheriff would have little time to pursue such cases. It has bigger fish to fry, so to speak.
In regard to the second issue – the bigger one regarding parking of recreational vehicles including boats and non-motorized campers – the solution appears to be a little bit more complicated and is multi-faceted. In fact, there are so many sub-issues that the council could be talking about it for another ten years without reaching a decision.
A complication related to parking of recreational vehicles is that the council agrees that they cannot be parked on grass, but that does not appear to cover the situation where the owner of the recreational vehicle has let the grass die and is parking his or her RV, boat or trailer on dirt. It appears that would not violate any proposed law.
There is also an issue of exactly where an RV can be parked – what if the vehicle (using the term loosely to include non-motorized campers that are typically pulled by pick-up trucks) is parked on a driveway and is somewhat bigger than the driveway? What if the RV is tall and blocks the neighbor’s vegetable garden? What kinds of surfaces are authorized for the parking of an RV?
It obviously would be the easiest solution to have limits on the length of RV’s and trailers, and an ordinance, for example, that states that vehicles (again, using the term loosely) of more than 25 feet in length cannot be parked in a residential neighborhood. It does not appear, however, that limitations based on the length of the RV are likely to pass muster with the council, based on their discussion.
Councilman Ron Weidmann said he had, prior to the meeting, been of a mind to think that ordinances were needed regarding parking of RV’s, trailers and boats, but that he had changed his mind.
Additionally, Weidmann said that “lots of people will be mad” at the city for imposing such restrictions on private property. Some people moved to their homes because of a lack of such laws, he said, and we “need to stay out of this.”
Councilwoman Candace Moon said there has to be “respect for personal property rights.” She said she was “perplexed” regarding the issue of parking large RV’s on concrete driveway. The council discussed the possibility of limiting an RV, boat or trailer to a certain percentage of the driveway length.
There was some discussion regarding forcing residents to store their boats, trailers and RVs off of their property. Councilman Mike Sutherland said he did not think there should be “percentage restrictions.” He also noted that the council has been discussing the issue for a decade. City staff had a picture of a very large non-motorized RV on a driveway, and Sutherland said he was “struggling” with it.
It appeared that there have not been many complaints related to the parking of RV’s, boats and other trailers.
Moon commented she had a neighbor who had a large RV in the neighbor’s back yard, and ran the RV often, for hours at a time, creating bothersome fumes. That owner, however, has died, and it is no longer a problem. She also said that there is a question regarding whether a family with a large RV has a reasonable expectation that they will be able to store the vehicle at their home, as they do their books and movies.
It would bring property values down to have big trailers stored at residences, Moon commented. Hopefully, the council will be able to figure out a solution “that works for everybody,” she said.
There actually appeared to be only one issue about which the council was in agreement. That was that larger properties, an acre or more, likely will be exempt from any ordinance adopted by the city.
Mayor Stephanie Piko said the council would likely have to take “baby steps” to find solutions to the RV parking issues.
Even the surfaces upon which the vehicles may be parked – if they are allowed to be parked in residential neighborhoods – is an issue that will have to be considered by the council, probably at a meeting later this summer.
The council only briefly touched on the issue of whether someone may park their vehicle in front of another person’s home, and it was not clear whether that was actually an issue, or just a topic that was thrown in the mix because the council already was discussing parking issues.
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |