August 30, 2007

letter to City Council re RV/Trailer private property parking code revisions

Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 22:02:06 -0700

To: "Todd Rogers, City Council" , , "Joe Esquivel, City Council" , , "Larry Van Nostran, city council" , , "Steve Croft, city council" , , "Diane DuBois, City Council" , "Howard Chambers, City Mgr" , "Jack Gonsalves Dir. Comm. Dev." , "Lakewood Service Requests"

From: Lakewood Accountability Action Group | LAAG

Subject: RV/Trailer private property parking code revisions

Dear Councilman Rogers:

I wanted to summarize my thoughts in a letter rather than taking up more time in the 8/28/07 city hearings. First after volunteering I was rather disheartened by the fact that I was not asked to participate on the 10 member focus group which claimed to be balanced. It sure appears that the RV owners carried the day there as anticipated. Again I will reassert from my May 2007 letter that it does appear that the Council is capitulating on the reform of the code as to the private property parking issues, which LAAG feels will likely result in further relaxations of the existing code not recommended by the Planning Commission and which will have the effect of nullifying the November 2006 election results.

For brevity I am only going to address the “site plan” number 4 schematics as all the properties in my area have detached rear two car garages. I am also not going to repeat all the information in our
May 2007 letter. Unfortunately most the items I mentioned in that letter were not addressed and will likely come to pass as issues facing a future council.

1. For the most part, you are throwing years of established code precedent out the window by allowing garages to be totally blocked for months if not years on end by huge trailers and motor homes (RV’s). Now the car(s) that could have gone in the garage will have to be parked in front of my house as most of my neighbors have too many vehicles. The city needs to address this issue. How is that fair that your neighbor uses up all his parking with an RV then takes up your street parking?

2. There is no rational basis for allowing RV’s to creep beyond the front of the house. My garage to the front of my house is 51 feet. I don’t know of any RV’s or trailers longer than 50 feet. Allowing the RV to come within 16’ of the sidewalk is silly and again has no rational basis. You are only creating another 5 feet of storage and ruining the look of the houses as you look down the street. You are also creating sight restrictions when backing out. If children are playing on an adjoining lawn you will not be able to see them until its too late. The 5 foot vision triangle should run from the front of the house as well. If the RV’s are even with the houses this blight is reduced. The rule should be that the RV cannot protrude beyond the house.

3. The blight effect would be further reduced by requiring at least a 6 foot fence to run across the entire driveway even with the front of the house. If you make the RV jut out beyond the house the fence becomes a bigger problem. The fence is needed to keep animals and small children out from the underside and backside of the motor home and to block the view of all clutter usually associated with motor homes and their owners who are usually working on them. Also most people that own motor homes think theirs looks great. Most don’t. I think a painted solid fence is better to look at especially with most run down RV’s in Lakewood. It would make the sore thumb blend in better. I also see no rational basis for making a distinction on requiring a corner lot to be fenced. Looking at the front of an RV is just as bad as the side. Also just because more people see it from the street on a corner lot makes my point. If its ugly on the corner its still ugly right in front on my house, on a corner or not. Also why a distinction between campers and RV’s. This is nonsense hair splitting to appease some silent minority.

4. Fire and access issues. How you can park a 12’ high 40 foot long motor home between two homes with barely a few feet either side of it and not think that it is going to hinder firefighters access to either property is ludicrous. In addition most of these RVs have huge fuel tanks and propane tanks which could explode in a fire. Also the more fact that you are wedging this huge plastic coated structure in between two homes is increasing the chance that one house fire will also ignite the adjoining house. I would take that lawsuit against the city especially in light of the fact that it is such an obvious problem. Apparently the firefighters union nixed the Edison right of way RV parking plans with a bogus fire code “revision” but have green lighted (or not addressed) this private property issue. Politics and fire. What a mixture.

5. CEQA The “aesthetics” part of CEQA is a big issue here. I think if this ordinance gets too liberal it is going to be subject to a CEQA challenge. So the existing negative EIR could be called into question as it was done for the changes the Planning Commission envisioned which I don’t see being adopted without significant relaxations affecting aesthetics. It appears here that the Planning Commission recommendations were essentially trashed on key provisions the pro RV lobby wanted and that what ever input the “anti-RV” contingent of 5 citizens, it could not have had much to do with improving aesthetics.

This committee is nothing but a capitulation to the RV owners and has thrown aesthetics out the window. The city is on its way to becoming Cudahy or some other city with low property values. This is how it starts. The November 2006 election results are hereby officially nullified. The voters were successful in moving the blight 20 feet.

The city also has no provisions for the total number of RV’s or vehicles that can be stored on or of the property, their degree of repair or tattered appearance or any method for homeowners to challenge the blight created by a neighbor. Given the enforcement efforts to fix blighted homes so far I see things getting much worse under the “new” “enlightened” code.


Lakewood Accountability Action Group

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | | Lakewood, CA
A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™

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