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New RV Parking Ban Riles Owners


PASADENA — Angry over a proposed law that would have banned the parking of recreational vehicles in front yards, their owners were not mollified by a softening of the ban suggested Tuesday by the Board of Directors.

Under the proposed modification, RVs could be parked in front yards if homeowners prove they don't have room in the back yard or garage for the big vehicles. Although the new proposal gives a break to some RV owners, the front-yard parking ban would still apply to camper shells, boats and trailers.

After nearly two hours of discussion, City Director William Paparian called the proposed change "a reasonable and fair way to deal with this concern. I hope it's perceived in that way by the community."

Instead, some of the more than 150 RV owners who attended the meeting called the modified rule arbitrary. "I think it stinks," said RV owner Howard Horn, who lives in Upper Hastings Ranch. "I think it's unconstitutional."

Harry Washington, an RV owner from Northwest Pasadena, said the city "should not discriminate against boats, trailers and the rest of them. Some of these boats are prettier than the RVs."

One resident, Leo Acosa, said he was puzzled by the decision. "I still can't understand all the fine little points about boats and campers, what is allowed and not allowed."

Such questions may be answered at yet another hearing, the date of which has not been set. Tuesday's modifications were unanimously approved, with Directors Chris Holden, John Crowley and William Thomson absent.

The proposed ban of recreational vehicles from front yards is part of the city's property maintenance ordinance. The ordinance, which bans such things as overgrown weeds, broken windows and peeling paint, was approved Oct. 2. But parking of RVs was considered separately because of the number of city residents concerned about the issue.

On Tuesday, Donald Morrin, the city's Neighborhood Services Division administrator, told the board that existing city law already prohibits the parking of recreational vehicles in front yards, but the law has not been strictly enforced.

Only owners whose recreational vehicles are parked on grassy areas or are intruding onto sidewalks or across property lines have been told to move them, Morrin said.

In the past, the city received about 10 complaints a month about RV parking from residents, but the number has decreased in recent years, he said.

Morrin presented the board with six versions of the proposed ordinance, ranging from strict enforcement to none at all.

Only four speakers favored enforcement, saying the RVs are unsightly and decrease the sale value of surrounding homes. But 25 speakers opposed regulations, many saying they were unaware of the city's present ban against front-yard parking.

Mary Mellema of Upper Hastings Ranch told the board that the regulations would outlaw even the parking of her small, $4,000 tent trailer in her driveway.

"It's neat, it's tidy, it's not a safety hazard," Mellema said. "I'm asking you for fairness."

Others said the RVs represent safety precautions, containing water, food and radios that would be needed by their neighbors after an earthquake.

But Director Rick Cole countered that the city would not allow temporary storage shacks 40 feet long and 10 feet tall, the size of some recreational vehicles, in front yards because such shacks would violate zoning regulations.

Therefore, Cole said, recreational vehicles should also be prohibited.

"I don't think it's very neighborly to park an extremely large vehicle in the front yard or in the driveway of your front yard in a neighborhood," Cole said.

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