City makes applications cheaper for RV owners

When City Attorney Chuck Odgers sat down with one of the locals effected by the the city’s tougher stance on RV owners living in neighborhoods, he discovered something. Despite the city offering a way for RV owners who have been living on their neighborhood plot since before Jan. 1, 2015, the price of the application to stay was prohibitive for most.

The application, or “special/conditional use permit,” was added to the city’s ordinance on RV zoning as a way to offer a solution for those who didn’t want to move out of the neighborhoods their recreational vehicle wasn’t legally allowed to sit in. But the $300 base cost for the permit, which doesn’t include the additional fees that can add up to several hundred more depending on the location the RV is in, priced most people out of that option.

In the Oct. 22 meeting of the Ely City Council, the council members took action to try and make the permit more affordable. After a unanimous vote, the permit’s price was reduced to $150, half of what it was originally.

But those still looking to apply for the permit and stay where they live should know that buying the permit is “not a guarantee” that the applicant will get to stay put, explains Odgers.

One applicant has purchased the permit and fulfilled the minimum requirements, the applicant’s permit will go in front of the City Planning Commission. Once passed, the permit will then go in front of the City Council, who Odgers said intends to allow the applicant to resume living assuming they’ve done the necessary leg work.

Sewer and power for their RV, and meet the minimum setbacks, then they will be allowd to remain on the property.

The base price of the “special/conditional use permit” was $300, which didn’t include the addition.

Special/conditional use permit, still are other fees, includes advertising in the Ely Times,

“While there is no guarantee, the intent of the council is that is the applicant can meet the national standards for water, sewer and power for their RV, and meet the minimum setbacks, then they will be allowed to remain on the property,” Odgers said.

The issue will be revisited once more at the next city council meeting on Nov. 5 due to an item placed on the meeting’s agenda to address how long effected RV owners will have to fulfill the permitting process. Councilwoman Jolene Gardner’s agenda item, if passed, would extend the time period RV owners have to go through the process an additional 120 days beyond the initial 30 days provided by the city.

According to Odgers, the way the city was handled the timeline so far was to send out letters and give those effected 30 days to respond. Due to an issue in getting the letters out however, some RV owners didn’t receive the notification that they either needed to apply for a permit or relocate until just two or three weeks before the deadline. Though the mistake caused some confusion, Odgers said that the city already extended the deadline to 30 days after each RV owner received the letter, giving them until the end of the October he approximated.

“Councilwoman Gardner’s item would add an extra 120 days to that deadline,” Odgers explained.

Whether or not the agenda item passes, the punishment for failing to comply can become much more pricey than the permit ever was. The city charges a $100 a day late fee for each day the RV owners don’t respond after the deadline.

Odgers said that the city’s seemingly recent interest in where RV owners settle down came from “multiple complaints” from neighborhood residents who found the RV’s a bad fit mixed in with the houses, sometimes for safety reasons, other times for aesthetics. Either way, Odgers said that the city had never really enforced their own zoning requirements for the vehicles up until now, which is why he and the council wanted to offer some alternative.

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