By Victoria Martinez
More than three months after the Buellton City Council last discussed the ordinance that controls where RVs, boats and trailers can be parked, the council asked city staff on Nov. 9 to move forward with drafting a revised ordinance for the council’s approval.
In the face of spirited opposition from more than a dozen citizens on July 27, council members delayed the scheduled Sept. 1 enforcement of the revised ordinance in favor of considering further changes. The most recent ordinance was approved in February after six months of discussion.
The revised ordinance would require all RVs, boats and trailers to be parked at least two and a half feet from either a front or side property line and three feet from structures. Parking in driveways or the short side of the yard will also now be acceptable options as long as the area being used has concrete or pavers and items being parked allow for the property line distance requirements.
The February ordinance allowed for driveway parking only if the owner had a three-car garage. Rules for parking in rear and side yards remain similar to those adopted in 2008.
City staff members who performed a “windshield survey” of the city believe that of the approximately 60 items stored in front yards, only five properties would not be able to comply with the revised ordinance.
Regulations in other Central Coast cities vary. Solvang, for example, allows RV parking and trailer storage only in rear- and side-yard setback areas behind a six-foot fence; Goleta allows front-yard parking on any paved surface.
During the discussion, the council once again asked if grandfathering of existing RVs, boats and trailers was a viable option, but City Manager Marc Bierdzinski said such a clause would be a “logistical nightmare.”
Councilmember Dave King, who spent 25 years as a CHP officer, revised his stance from the July meeting and said that he now believed a larger five-foot setback from the front property line was more appropriate. The five-foot setback from the front property line was in both the 2008 and the February 2017 ordinances.
“It just makes common sense,” King said.
Councilmember Foster Reif was concerned with the number of residents who would not be in compliance if the front setback was increased and enforced at five feet.
Mayor Holly Sierra apologized to any residents who felt as though the February ordinance happened behind their backs in the months leading up to its adoption.
“I apologize to people out there who feel their voice wasn’t heard,” Sierra said.
Sierra said that the council had been working hard to work with homeowners and believed the driveway options and smaller setback requirements were a good compromise.
“I would like to move forward,” Sierra added.
Though King said he will support an ordinance only with a five-foot front setback, the consensus from the council was to have staff move forward with drafting the revised ordinance.
For more information, call City Hall at 805-688-5177.