Members of the Turlock Planning Commission decided Thursday that they need more information on the City's current ordinances pertaining to the parking of recreational vehicles in residential districts and voted to initiate an amendment to the Municipal Code.
The vote to move forward with an amendment means that City staff will research possible ways the Municipal Code could be changed in regards to parking of RVs, boats and trailers and how those changes could potentially affect current and future residents of Turlock.
The City of Turlock Municipal Code currently allows recreational vehicles, trailers and boats to be parked in the side yard or rear yard setback of a residence, as long as it is not closer than four feet to any parcel line. Parking is permitted within the front yard or corner side yard when space is not available in the rear or side yard.
The issue of RV parking was brought to the Planning Commission by Turlock resident Larry Tribuzio. On Thursday, Tribuzio addressed the Commission and presented a number of photos taken of RVs around Turlock — some parked within what is acceptable under the current Municipal Code and others that were clearly in violation of the Code.
"I have nothing against RVs or boats or trailers," said Tribuzio to the Commissioners. "But it goes from a neighborhood to a storage facility real quick."
Commissioner Geoff Powers said that in his personal opinion, it is the right of a homeowner to park their RV on their own property.
"What if your neighbor doesn't like what color your car is?" asked Powers of Tribuzio.
Tribuzio responded by naming a number of ordinances that pertain to what the City of Turlock has determined as unsightly and not allowed in residential neighborhoods.
"There is an ordinance in place if your grass is 9 inches tall or for shopping carts, but you're fine with this stuff? I just don't get your logic. This is a heck of a lot bigger than a shopping cart. I can take a shopping cart back to the store it comes from and problem solved," he said.
Tribuzio also stated that while the Municipal Code allows residents to park 10-feet tall recreational vehicles in their driveways, he would not be allowed to build a 9-foot tall fence on his property to block the view of the RV.
"We talk a lot about preservation of our very nice town and I can appreciate what you're saying," said Commissioner Soraya Fregosi.
The Planning Commission received one letter against moving forward with an amendment. Tibor Toth wrote that he doesn't see a problem with RV parking in Turlock.
"This potential amendment would change a basic human right to be able to decide, within reason, what happens on their property," wrote Toth.
He also wrote that changing the RV parking ordinances would create an unfair economic advantage to those who owned storage facilities.
Deputy Director of Development Services Debra Whitmore informed the Commission that the vast majority of complaints that come to the City regarding recreational vehicles — approximately two to three a month — pertain to violations of the current ordinance and not issues with what the ordinance states. She also said that the City's administrative fining system seems to be working as enforcement of the RV parking ordinance.
In the end, the Planning Commission voted unanimously (with Commissioner Nick Hackler absent) to move forward with the amendment process as it would allow them to gain more information on the affect of the current recreational vehicle parking ordinances and potential changes that could be made to the ordinances.