Public hearing regarding storage, parking of trailers, commercial vehicles set for Jan. 15

January 8, 2019

SPEARFISH — The Spearfish Planning Commission Wednesday set a public hearing for Jan. 15 to consider an amendment to zoning code related to the storage and parking of trailers and commercial vehicles.

Following the recent passage of a right-of-way management policy that requires RVs, campers, trailers, etc., to be on private property, and not within the boulevard – the area from the back of the curb to the sidewalk – city staff is seeking direction

about where these vehicles should be stored and parked, and in November, the city council initiated an amendment the code to allow staff to consider alternatives.

In a memo from Desirae Mayo, assistant city planner, to the planning commission dated Jan. 2, she explains that an amendment is needed to reflect the right-of-way policy; acknowledge that residents wish to park vehicles on their driveways; and incorporate public and property safety requirements of the adopted modal codes.

“The current ordinance requires RVs, trailers of any type, commercial vehicles, and campers to be stored behind the front building line on a residential property which places them in either a side yard or a rear yard,” she writes, explaining that the requirement was written at a time when a typical residential side yard was 12-15 feet wide. Many residences now are built within eight feet of the side property line, meaning that there is not adequate space to park a trailer or RV.

“This results in parking on the front driveway. RVs and campers have been parking in the wider downtown boulevards for many years,” the memo states. “The new Right-of-way policy requires these vehicles to move out of the right-of-way completely.”

Mayo added that staff believes the most logical approach is to amend the ordinance to allow for more flexibility in the parking of RVs and campers by allowing residents to park them in a front driveway, in addition to locations such as behind the front building line or in the rear yard as currently allowed. Staff is seeking planning commission input on: Where such vehicles should be parked and stored since they are required to be parked on private property; if surfaces would be required to be paved, gravel, or grass if the parking is in the backyards or side yards; and visibility requirements related to where the vehicles are allowed to be parked.

The memo states, “Staff suggests adding criteria for safety requirements such as adding a distance of three free from a side or rear property line and that trailers and commercial vehicles cannot extend over a sidewalk or into the right-of-way.”

The drafted text to be considered by the commission defines driveway as “a designated location on private property used for parking and ingress and egress a public street.” It describes that permitted placement of commercial vehicles and trailers of all types — including travel, boat, camping, and hauling — in residential districts, would be allowed to be parked and stored “behind the front property line of a residential property, and up to three feet from the side or rear property line. If the vehicle is parked between the front property line and the front building line, it must be parked on a driveway.”

The drafted text adds that such vehicles must not extend over a sidewalk or into the right-of-way and that they must not block visibility of the street from an adjacent driveway.

The public is invited to provide input during the public hearing, which will take place during the 3 p.m. Jan. 15 meeting of the planning commission, located on the second floor of city hall.

The commission makes recommendations to the city council, which has the authority to approve amendments to city code.

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