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Advertisement New RV, boat and trailer rules proposed
by Corey Munson · February 28th, 2013


Marion is considering a new ordinance to specify size limits and parking positions of RVs, campers, boats and other trailer-based items.

The ordinance appeared before the city council last week for discussion before being referred to the Planning and Zoning Commission. If it passes this committee, it will return to council for final approval.

"We don't want to ban [RVs, etc] all together, but there'a a reasonable size," said Kesha Billings, an Associate Planner in the Planning and Development Department.

As proposed, the ordinance would limit such things to two items per yard per home. The trailers, RVs, boats, etc. must be parked behind the home on a concrete slab and be limited in size.

The size limits are currently set at a length of 25 feet, height of 11 feet, and width of eight feet.

The ordinance is specifically geared to move these items from out in front of homes and prevent them from being parked long term in the drive way, which the city says can prevent neighbors from enjoying their own homes.

Last year the city council received a complaint from a resident about a neighbor whose trailer was cutting off views of the rest of the neighborhood. This prompted the city to consider an ordinance to address the issue.

Billings has headed up the project and is no stranger to camper ownership herself. She and her husband own a fifth-wheel style camper now which would be affected by the ordinance and admits the the size restriction would make some of the campers her family members own illegal to store in Marion. But, she said, storage options are offered at various businesses around the metro - an option she is taking advantage of herself.

She said it's important to give camper owners a heads up on this process early so they can plan ahead. She expects if an ordinance is enacted, it would take effect fall or winter 2013, leaving owners free to continue to store their trailers through the summer camping and boating season.

"Owning a camper is expensive," Billings said. "In my experience if you can afford the cost of a new camper, you can afford to take care of it. And that's what we are asking these owners to do."

If enacted, this would be the most restrictive rules in the metro for trailer, RV or boat placement. Cedar Rapids, like Marion's current rules, just requires the item to be on a hard surface. Hiawatha does not currently have any rules on the books addressing this objects.

It is also important to note that these rules only apply to single family properties under acre, so any home on a large lot would automatically be exempt.

The city is looking at various ways to get the word out about the possible changes, including potentially reaching out to those owners who have already been complained about.

She said even if the ordinance does get changed, there would likely be a grace period involved and ultimately enforcement would be complaint driven.

"Driving around town looking for violations would be a monumental time waste for staff," said Tom Treharne, Director of the Planning and Development Department.

Billings encouraged anyone with questions or concerns about the proposed ordinance change to contact her at the Marion Planning and Development Department. The department phone number is 319-743-6320, her email address is kbillings@cityofmarion.org.
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