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Old 07-06-2012, 11:18 AM   #15
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1969 31' Sovereign
Broken Arrow , Oklahoma
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The way it works here is the code is enforced if someone complains (like our new neighbors) and it would do no good to take pictures of what others are doing unless you want to cause them grief.

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Old 07-06-2012, 11:42 AM   #16
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2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
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It does not matter where others park RV's to enforcement officials. They respond to complaints and rarely initiate anything on their own. To initiate cases would require far more code enforcement people; that would raise taxes. Photos of other RV's would be useful at the sentencing phase if you lose an ordinance violation case.

First read the code—look for definitions of trailers, RV's and busses. See how each are regulated. There may be something in state statutes and case law too. If you don't understand it, call a lawyer. This could be a simple case. This has happened before.

Where is it parked? If on the street, you will most probably lose. The more hidden the better.

Do not attack the code people as idiots, tyrants or fools. They will show you just what they can do and issue a citation. Approach them with "how can we work this out?" If you know the ordinances, you can politely cite them. The person who called you may be new and have little idea how to handle this. Educate him or her.

A possible explanation for this is a neighbor who doesn't know a bus from an RV with curves (to an 80 year old, these trailers look like busses looked 60 years ago) from their butt, sees this thing being worked on, calls the city code department and tells someone that a neighbor is taking apart a "bus" in front of his house. Remember, when people complain, they often embellish. The code guy, having too much to do, calls you, never checking this out, and tells you to move it. I can only see a weight issue if you have it parked on the street.


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Old 07-06-2012, 12:44 PM   #17
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1992 36' Land Yacht
Grayson , Georgia
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I agree with Gene. Once code enforcement is involved you can do nothing but meet their requirements.

I ran into this a couple of years ago. I had some work done on my septic system. The "tech" that was doing the job kept trying to trump up the price by trying to alarm me over issues that didn't exists. After he left I called the company and complained. They fired him over it. He then retaliated by calling every local jurisdiction around. I was told that I was running an auto repair facility at a residential location. All the cars (6) were mine so they dropped it. I was told that I had illegally parked cars. Took me a few weeks to straighten that one out. I was told that I had an illegal building being built. No building being built on my property so they dropped it. On and on it went. After a couple months the harassment finally stopped. The code enforcement officer said that they don't normally get involved unless a complaint is filed. Once filed, they are obligated to site any code violations they see. You'd be amazed at what petty laws are in the books until you're caught up on this kind of mess. They even had a code about "trees growing in your gutters". Had to pluck every little twig out from my gutters to get that one cleared up. I finally found out who was causing the issues by checking public records. The code enforcement officer was happy to check out the techs house just for good measure. Lets just hope that the techs yard was as clean as mine was when this all ended.

Bottom line... Fix what needs to be fixed with as little ruckus as possible. Things can get out of hand when dealing with code enforcement. They will usually work with you to get things right. Treat the code enforcement officers with respect. They're just doing their job.
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:01 PM   #18
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It helps to know the people in Planning and Building departments before you get in trouble. I usually do wherever I live, but I realize not everyone can pull that off. Mostly they want to solve things and really don't want to issue a citation—that takes a lot of work and time and they usually don't have the time. They are really interested in bad things like failed septic systems, bad wells, houses falling down, dangerous trees and not interested in RV's, but they are at the mercy of the local council and mayor.

But if you are planning to park an RV on your property and to take it apart, it is good to check before you buy the house or the RV. That means county or municipal ordinances, maybe state law, and HOA's.

92', funny you should mention septic systems. I had to have a septic system rebuilt a long time ago and it had to get okayed by an engineering firm. They sent out a green engineer who couldn't find anything, didn't have a long enough tape, didn't understand local ordinances and I had to lead him around and show him how to do his site work. I complained to the company and got my bill reduced. I don't think they fired him.

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Old 07-06-2012, 01:07 PM   #19
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When we stay at my aunt's place in Sun City, AZ, it's two days only, and then your outahere.
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:09 PM   #20
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MILAN , Illinois
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To Bus or not to Bus!

The main issue here is probably past problems with commercial vehicles (buses) that have been converted to MoHos. Chances are good that someone (Can you say Neighbor) has complained that you have a "bus" on your driveway. Prove the fact that your Argosy was built as a Motorhome and is not a converted commercial bus and their argument of parking a bus in your driveway becomes a moot point! Your title should state Motor Home or RV not bus. Even if a bus is converted it may still be required to have a commercial plate and be register as a bus unless an owner has had it re-classified by the state DMV.(Very hard to do) Owners manual or sales brochure of your Argosy, or your registration paperwork should be all you need. Lots of city officails just take a complaint and run with it as they assume no one will "Fight City Hall". That is exactly why you need to stand up for what is right and make them understand your Hotorhome is not a Beverly Hillbillies bus/camper! Good Luck and keep the flame to their shoes until they realize that you won't let them bowl you over! Ed
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Old 07-22-2012, 07:16 AM   #21
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Been there, done that. I'll try to be brief and to the point.

As other have commented, code enforcement is by complaint. Someone complained.

In my case, the small city I lived in had an ordinance against motorhomes. When the ordinance was made six units were grandfathered. Citing that did not help since I moved in after the fact.

An attorney with knowledge about the situation was secured. He came to the council meeting to explain that the small city had no zoning authority with regard to off-street parking. They were only empowered to regulate on-street parking. So, the issue was dependent upon the code of Jefferson County.

Jefferson County code explicitly states trailers in excess of 16-feet are not allowed to be parked on property in areas where yards are less than a certain size, etc. For motorhomes, there was no designation. A motorhome, since it is built on a truck chassis, is judged as being a truck. A bus caries more than 15 people. A motorhome doesn't.

So, I can park off-street in the back yard behind the back of the house (as specified by code). The "truck" can not be on dual axles as that puts it into the "heavy truck" designation (our motorhome has one rear axle). Heavy trucks can't be parked off-street in a residential area. A privacy fence (8 feet) was installed to screen the motorhome to show intent to not create an issue (but it didn't satisfy the neighbor). Code enforcement officer said he'd tell the neighbor I was legal.

By the way, the zoning folks contacted my attorney to discuss the issue. The attorney was hired because he had fought and won a similar case which resulted in the county zoning folks developing a better definition with regard to trucks.

If you're serious, contact an attorney. If you're not, fight it yourself as best you can. Above all, check the code first. It may be hard to find but do check it. Ignorance only sets you up for a loss.
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:40 AM   #22
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We are not allowed to keep our interstate in the driveway between November 1 and April 1. It having a bathroom, I believe, is the defining and problematic component.

Can keep it in the back yard behind the house, but can't now get it there due to fencing. So, have to rent a spot when we are home during those times.

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Old 07-24-2012, 09:05 AM   #23
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Dallas , Texas
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Got lucky! The city said I could keep it where it is if I put it back together.. I'm off to get the front back on in the next few days.

I did convince them it was a RV not a bus. That was easy. Found an ebay auction with the exact model. There's also that web site with all the pic of classic Airstream RVs.

thanks guys
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:15 AM   #24
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Louisville , Kentucky
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Patience, persistence, and prepared with facts pays off. Great!

I also had to show the unit was self-contained (not a mobile or manufactured home) and that we only used it for travel. This was to show I wasn't trying to rent out the moho while it was docked.

This goes to show that it is difficult to legislate the desire by neighbors to keep the area in good shape. In our neighborhood trailers, boats, and RVs aren't the problem, it's those that let their homes and yards deteriorate. The desire to keep out "trailer trash" still allows a homeowner to trash his own property and ruin it for the other neighbors.

After all was said and done in our neighborhood, we've gotten compliments on how we made the Land Yacht XC fit in, which included some landscaping to enhance the property. We also live on a corner so it's like living in a glass house.

Again, glad your situation worked out.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:08 PM   #25
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Cedar City , Utah
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MrJ, I am retired from police work and believe your issue is complaint driven. Charter Cities must address all complaints so it is in your best interest to speak with the agency addressing the issue. They're not bad people and many will have motorhomes too so you need to find out "exactly " what code section you are potentially violating and read it.

If your motorhome is registered as a bus, you'll need to ammend the registration. If not, you'll need to find out why they believe it is per the code's definition. The ordinance may have been written in a way to prevent people from parking converted school buses or gutted motorhomes on streets or in view of the public. To my knowledge, Airstream/Argosy did not make buses! They did make funeral coaches and a few other strange things.

Don't assume you need to fight it; understand the code and speak personally with the officer conducting the investigation. Listen to his/her concerns and treat him/her with respect. It'll go a long way. Good luck, Mary

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