To the editor:
Re: The Breeze editorial "Time for some serious discussion on parking regs"
Yes, times have changed and there needs to be major changes to the parking regulations as they apply to residential properties. It should be considered to include parking on improved driveways of an RV or boat on trailer with restrictions on length and height. Restrictions should include limits to how far the RV or boat trailer needs to be back from the street in order to ensure that there is adequate visibility when backing a vehicle out if there is a RV blocking the view of on-coming traffic. With current minimum setbacks in Cape Coral that would limit most RVs to about 24-26 feet in length.
Also, the same rules should apply as to any vehicle; it must be current in registration and serviceable. RVs should be defined as either motorhomes or travel trailers and would not be allowed to be hooked up to the water or sewer system or a permanent electrical hookup. Parking or RVs or boat trailers could also require an annual permit to be issued that allows Code Compliance the right to inspect the trailer, motorhome or boat and boat trailer for current registration (this would be required to determine serviceability.) The current restrictions on RVs that are being inhabited by visitors would remain in effect or reviewed. In no case would resident owned and stored RVs be allowed to be inhabited unless the same rules that apply to visiting RV owners, (length of time, and number of days between permits.) No external or on-board electrical generation would be allowed.
Further expansion of my thoughts on this issue.
It should be noted that with the current Cape Coral codes there is no limit to the number of vehicles (non-recreational) that may be parked in the front yard of a residential property. Every city that I have lived in, with the exception of Cape Coral, has required vehicles to be parked on an improved surface (paved or gravel) with permitting required for the improved surface. The improved service requirement limits the number of vehicles that could be parked on a residential property.
There appears to be no limit on the number of boats or boat trailers that can be in the rear yard of a residential property. Code requires the boat trailers and the boats have current registration yet code compliance officers may not go on to the rear property to determine if the registrations are in fact current. This also applies to pop-up campers which code permits in the rear yard.
Changes that would allow RVs (motorhomes and travel trailers) in the rear yards would be equally unenforceable unless the registration requirement was eliminated. Without limits on the number of boats (or RVs) within a residential property rear yards could become mass storage areas unenforceable by the Code Compliance Division. As I do not live on a canal and have a residence directly behind my property I am concerned the permitting that storage of travel trailers in rear yards could lead to a blight including overgrown lots and habitat for vermin.
The current view held by the City Council, and many residents, is that allowing RVs and boats in driveways would "trash" what they consider to be the ideal image of our city. I would counter that this was the same view held when pickup trucks were not allowed to be parked outside of the garage. While, as stated before, residents can park any number of vehicles (with the exception of currently defined commercial vehicles) in their front yards and this presents what the same residents and council members consider an acceptable image.
Code Compliance Division is not staffed to the level that is needed to enforce many of the current code requirements. I would recommend that the Code Compliance Division be returned to the prior staffing levels, and the codes be review and changed where required. (Note: This was validated by the Zucker Report that was commissioned by the City.)