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Time for some serious discussion on parking regs

January 23, 2014
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

The holidays may be behind us but Cape Coral City Council is expected to discuss an "evergreen" on Monday: Whether the owners of travel trailers should be afforded the same parking considerations as boat owners.

The topic, being brought forward by Mayor Marni Sawicki, is up again at the request of a resident who would like to park his 20-foot, $24,000 travel trailer in his fenced backyard rather than pay $130 per month for storage in Punta Gorda, an hour each way every time he would like to use it.

He has asked for a "logical explanation" of how parking a travel trailer is different from parking a boat of similar dimension.

We're not sure but, having been down this road before, we do agree with staff that for whatever reason, trailer parking has, indeed, been a "very sensitive" subject in the Cape.

Which is all the more reason to address provisions in the city's land and development regulations that have pretty much stayed the same since the mid 1990s when the big bugaboo was whether pickup truck owners should be allowed park their vehicle of choice in their driveway.

Products change, lifestyle choices change, and what was once an exception becomes the king cab parked out front with pride with nary a disparaging look from the neighbor polishing the clear coat on his Hummer.

A serious revisiting of the Cape's residential parking restrictions as they relate to travel trailers and RVs is long overdue. Past attempts stumbled consistently on the fear factor (Renters! Transients!! The no-code frontier!!!) rather the simple fact that, no, unless you're talking touring bus, there probably isn't a whole lot of difference between a 20-foot boat on top of a trailer and a small RV or pull-behind trailer of similar size.

Bring the issue forward for formal discussion. Do some research. Hold some public hearings and info sessions. Garner input as to whether the city should continue to limit parking to "entirely within the confines of a garage or carport" and special permitting for trip preparation and a 10-day max for visiting guests only.

Then see where we are and whether it's time for some reasonable restrictions rather than a near outright ban for on-site parking.

A "logical explanation" would be nice.

- Breeze editorial



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