One parking ordinance killed

In a surprise move, the Port Orchard City Council on Monday night killed one of the three pending RV/boat parking ordinances — the ordinance limiting the number of such vehicles which can be stored on a resident’s property.

Councilman Don Morrison, who initiated the motion, also presented city staff with instructions to write a new ordinance that incorporates the suggestions made at two public hearings hosted by the council’s street committee.

Morrison, who chairs the committee, said he was advised killing the older ordinance and substituting a new one was a way to streamline the re-write process.

“It was technically told (to me) that this was the way to do it,” Morrison said.

The new ordinance will make two significant changes to the old ordinance. The old ordinance, first introduced in July, restricted property owners to one RV and one boat on their properties. Any additional campers, vessels or trailers had to be stored in a fully enclosed garage.

The new ordinance, currently being reviewed by the city attorney, allows residents to have any combination of restricted vehicles on their properties — two boats, two campers, a trailer and a boat, and so on. Morrison said many residents complained the rule of “one boat and one RV” did not reflect the recreational interests of the city. Most were angry the city seemed to be telling them not only how many vehicles they could own, but what kind of vehicles those could be.

The new ordinance also allows residents to keep unlimited numbers of recreational vehicles on their properties, as long as the vehicles are out of sight.

“If you park them on your front yard or in your driveway, you can have two,” Morrison emphasized.

In addition, the committee also added a clause that specifically exempts inflatable boats and kayaks from the restrictions. Several kayak-owning residents were bothered by the original rules, which defined a boat as any marine vessel used to transport people or supplies.

The new ordinance is expected to appear on the Oct. 28 council meeting agenda for approval.

The two remaining ordinances will each be dealt with in turn, Morrison said. He expects the council will kill the right-of-way parking ordinance at the next council meeting and subsequently begin the process of introducing a replacement.

However, because the issue of parking boats and RVs in city streets is such a volatile one, Morrison said the street committee will proceed slowly and cautiously.

He expects the committee will review the new replacement ordinance at least once more before bringing it back before the full council, and may even hold an additional public hearing on it.

“If we feel there’s some question, we may have an open hearing,” Morrison said. “That one has consumed quite a bit of our open meetings.”

After the right-of-way ordinance is finally approved, the council must then approve the final ordinance which, in effect, creates enforcement for the right-of-way parking ordinance by preventing residents from acquiring parking permits for their boats, RVs and trailers.

“Once all this is done, that’s more of a cleanup, housekeeping thing,” Morrison said.

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