City bans street parking for boats, RVs

After trying for nearly a year to draft an ordinance that would keep boat and RVs from becoming a public nuisance — and avoid ruffling too many boat- and RV-owner feathers — the Port Orchard City Council opted on Monday to spin off an ordinance that deals solely with boats and RVs in the public right-of-way.

A similar ordinance addressing commercial vehicles parking in the street is expected to come before the council June 23.

Not much has changed since the ordinances came before the council as a single document in May. Boats, trailers and RVs can park in the public right-of-way for 24 hours — no longer. Weekends are exempt, but the city will move faster to tow away recreational vehicles that overstay their welcome.

According to the ordinance, which was unanimously approved, tow trucks can be called in after only 48 hours. In previous drafts, the owner had 72 hours to move the vehicle before it got towed away.

The chain parking clause also remained intact, making it difficult for vehicle owners to bypass the ordinance by moving the RV or trailer a few feet every day. The clause states any vehicle must be moved at least two blocks away from its previous position in order to avoid citation.

“It basically eliminates the long-term parking along the streets and that was our intent,” said Councilman Don Morrison, who has been the main force behind the boat/RV ordinances.

Morrison also said the ordinance gives the flexibility needed by those using the public boat launch — an earlier concern of many.

In the past, there have been numerous residents who spoke out against the combined street/property parking ordinances. However, most of the outrage was directed against the private property restrictions.

The right-of-way parking ordinance does include provisions for residents to apply for an exemption if moving their boat or RV off the street would create significant hardship. However, the ordinance also allows the council to reject such a request if the boat, RV or trailer poses a public hazard.

There are no firm plans yet to bring the second half of the boat/RV parking restrictions — the half dealing with private property storage — back before the full council.

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