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Old 07-05-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
MrJ
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My RV is a bus?! - city told me to move it - help

Working on my 76' Argosy HM. I've got the inside gutted, front off, etc. City calls me and says you can't park it anywhere in the city because it's a bus. I tell them it's not, they say it is.. They are also saying there's a weight issue, etc. There are plenty of RVs in the city parked in people's driveways.

Anyone dealt with this before? Suggestions?
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:36 PM   #2
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Working on my 76' Argosy HM. I've got the inside gutted, front off, etc. City calls me and says you can't park it anywhere in the city because it's a bus. I tell them it's not, they say it is.. They are also saying there's a weight issue, etc. There are plenty of RVs in the city parked in people's driveways.

Anyone dealt with this before? Suggestions?
Call an attorney who is familiar with local laws...
Good luck!
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
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Working on my 76' Argosy HM. I've got the inside gutted, front off, etc. City calls me and says you can't park it anywhere in the city because it's a bus. I tell them it's not, they say it is.. They are also saying there's a weight issue, etc. There are plenty of RVs in the city parked in people's driveways.

Anyone dealt with this before? Suggestions?

I had to deal with it in Austin, because of a complained driven city ordinance, concerning the parking of RV, Boats and Trailers within City Limits.
I ended up building a 6' privacy fence around my driveway and had the city come out and approve it in writing, end of story.
Check your local codes, print them out and contact the city.
Good Luck !
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:40 PM   #4
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Wow!! Surely you can fight it. I would go take pictures of other peoples RV's parked at their house and ask them what is the difference.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:41 PM   #5
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You should not have to spend money to get an attorney involved.

I would take photos of other motor homes parked in driveways and then show them a copy of the title. City's can act just like a bully. They will push you around until you fight back. If you can't get any satisfaction from the person giving you a hard time, then try going up the chain of command. Good luck.

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Old 07-05-2012, 08:44 PM   #6
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You may also want to contact the DMV and see if they would license it as a bus or a motor home and why. If they tell you that they would license it as a motor home, there is more ammunition to use to support your position against the city.

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Old 07-05-2012, 08:44 PM   #7
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If you read up on complained driven city ordinances, you will realize that you may get singled out, no matter if your neighbor has a 40' rig sitting in his driveway. Been there.... and it is very frustrating
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:49 PM   #8
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I think I'd want to see their exact definition of a bus, in a written ordnance. If it isn't defined somewhere, it's a bureaucrats subjective opinion, which I'd think would be indefensible.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:11 PM   #9
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I'd show them the title to show them is is NOT a bus and your insurance and anything else that describes it as a motorhome...then go to battle/ What about any manuals or documentation that is original? They are just ignorant of what an Airstream motor home looks like. Sounds like someine complained for sure. Aren't neighbors delightful?
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:56 PM   #10
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Mr. J,
You can access the Dallas Municipal Codes here: ClientCodeList - Municipal Code Corporation It will take some time and work but my suggestion is to read up on the code section(s) that apply and then go right back at them.

Good luck,
Wayne S
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:23 PM   #11
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What does the plate say? Private Bus? Motorhome? I can't for the life of me think of what the plates on the 50 motorhomes at my storage lot say, I don't really look at them... I just pay attention to the Avion (checking on it for my neighbor just in case) and my Argosy.

I don't know what Dallas code is like, but in Fort Worth a motorhome or travel trailer has to be "hidden" from view from the street if it's there for more than a day or two. I don't think a 6' privacy fence would be technically sufficient, but if your neighbors didn't kvetch you'd probably get away with it.

Once the code-compliance drones get involved, though, it's all about the letter of the code. Dallas code is available online, but all I found is about parking an RV on the street, not in a driveway. From Section 28-81:

A person commits an offense if he stops, parks, or stands a motor home, house trailer, or recreational vehicle with a rated capacity in excess of one and one-half tons, according to the manufacturer's classification, upon any public right-of-way abutting a residential area. This subsection shall not apply to the parking or standing of a vehicle for the purpose of expeditiously loading or unloading passengers or property.

My guess is the CodeDrones have to tell you exactly what code you're violating... if they didn't tell you in the letter, they'll have to on request. Buona fortuna!
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:35 AM   #12
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Contact Good Sam - they have good experience with providing arguments to help your cause.

Good Luck - Pat
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:57 AM   #13
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The problem might be that you have the thing disassembled and laying around in pieces.
We have a neighboor with an inoperable Winnebago Class C parked in his driveway for 5 years. He finally started to dismantle it a few months ago. First the aluminum came off. Then the wheels. It sat for a couple of months as just a cab and chassis. Today all that's left is the motor and front axle. It's an eyesore.

I have no idea how long your Argosy has been sitting there gutted with the front end off, but perhaps that's the real issue behind the conflict with the city.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:16 AM   #14
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Good Luck! Lots of good suggestions here. Anyone here can see the problems you face by looking up the City Council members for Dallas....what a conglomeration.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:18 AM   #15
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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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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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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.

Gene
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Old 07-06-2012, 01:07 PM   #19
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Old 07-06-2012, 03:09 PM   #20
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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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