I've been following this post for a while as we recently relocated our AS MH from our driveway to my office to comply with some of our neighbor's wishes. I’m curious to get opinions from others on the forum about our situation and what they might have done in our place.
We live in a nice older (1920’s) neighborhood within the city limits. There is no HOA but we do have a small neighborhood association, city councilmen, alderman, etc. all who live within the immediate area. Our city, like many, is broken up into smaller “cities” that are really big organized neighborhoods. Like most neighborhood associations, ours is primarily focused on organizing car washes, fairs and recycling pickups rather than actual politics, ordinances or enforcement. As such we fall under the cities ordinances and covenants.
Before we purchased our MH I checked the city ordinances and found a surprisingly open set of rules; RV’s were defined as vehicles or trailers longer than 21 feet. They could not be parked on a city street for more than 72 hours but as long as they were parked perpendicular to a city street in the driveway of private residence you were in compliance (many of the homes in our city do not have a driveway so my guess was that this addressed a city wide parking shortage). There were also some meeting minutes from last October in which the city was evaluating whether the rules should be changed so that the RV (or boat) should be parked behind the front “build line” of the structure itself and a with the possible addition of a privacy fence but this was only being considered at the time.
Just to go above and beyond the rules, we sent a letter to all of our immediate neighbors explaining that we were planning to purchase an AS MH and we would be storing it at the house while we restored it. We were sure to let them know that after the project was complete we planned to store it elsewhere. I took pictures of the MH over to my adjacent neighbors and talked about it with them. We even went so far as to build a new gate along the front “build line” of our house made from six foot high privacy fencing so that we exceeded the not only the current ordinances those under consideration as well. This did have the added benefit of shielding the MH from the street during long term repairs. After all, no one really wants to see AS parts spread out day after day when they get home from work – myself included. (You can see the fence and the street view of the AS in the attached picture) We didn’t receive any negative comments or concerns and three weeks later we took delivery of our 345 and brought her home. Our letter didn't really ask permission but rather asked folks to let us know their concerns. I wish they had.
A few weeks after getting the 345 home we began to notice no one was waving “hi” to us anymore. Some neighbors would walk right past us and not even look in our direction. My wife even joked that we must have a scarlet “RV” on our chests. I knew something was up but decided to see how things would go on their own, after all change is hard for most people.
After a couple of more weeks, one of our neighbors finally approached me about it. He turned out to be the “messenger” as some of our neighbors had stared to complain about the MH to him on a regular basis. I should point out that he is in his late-forties and the second youngest neighbor on our street behind us. We’re in our thirties and are definitely the “newbies” around here as most neighbors have been living in their houses longer than we’ve been alive. He very nicely asked if we would consider moving it as people seemed concerned about it..
After some long thought we decided to be good neighbors and found another home for the AS at my office, explaining that the MH would be back on a regular basis for repairs that needed to be done near my home workshop and for loading and unloading for camping trips. He seemed to understand and was genuinely and graciously relieved. I was right in the middle of some major repairs so it would be two more weeks before we could fire her up and move it to the new location.
Unfortunately this was not the end of the story. We found out later through a sympathetic neighbor that members of the neighborhood association and the councilmen had been invited to tour the street with some neighbors while we were at work one day. Allegedly, one or more neighbors were working to get us written up on a fire code violation as our MH blocked access to our back yard through the driveway. We also heard terms like “inappropriate” and “eyesore”, and “setting the wrong precedent for the area” about our AS. OK, it’s not the prettiest thing in the world (yet) and RVing isn’t for everyone (just 10% of the US pop) but comments like this border on personal judgment.
We decided to go ahead and move the MH anyway as we believe in setting a good example for our community and our children and honestly as business owners in the city completely believe in the whole good citizenship is good for business thing. But we’re left with lingering doubts about our neighbors. We feel we did everything possible to exceed anyone’s concerns and even invited criticism or at least dialog before purchasing the AS. Why then would our concerned neighbors feel the best course of action was to talk to everyone about their concerns except us? The entire thing has left us wondering what kind of people we live next to. And despite some of the experiences posted by other members in our experience it was the younger members of our community that seemed more accepting of the AS than the older set. A few have made it a point to mention how they didn’t mind the MH and were very disturbed by how things happened.
So for now we bring her home only load up for a trip or to work on her in the driveway and to be honest I don’t try too hard to conceal her anymore when she’s here. After all…the city says I have 72 hours.
Many of my friends said they would have fought it and I’m sure a few of you would have too, but I guess we’ve chosen to acquiesce in order to take the high road and put up with what is a minor inconvenience in order to be a “good neighbor”. Yes, I’m bothered by it, yes, I’m out the money for the gate, yes there are many neighbors with boats and pickups and canoes and stuff in their yard, yes I growl to myself when I see a few of my neighbors outside but more disturbing is that we’ve found ourselves living among people who didn’t extend the same courtesy to us as we did to them. I guess we expected more from our neighbors.
My apologies for making this such a long post. I tend to keep my posts related to ownership and maintenance rather than social issues but reading about the experiences of others got me going. Thank you for the outlet and I’m curious to read your opinions.