Recreational vehicle owners in Papillion would be extended a little more freedom, about 10 feet worth, if a proposed ordinance passes at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The original zoning ordinance for RVs in Papillion was established in 1995 and has been amended three times since then. The most recent amendment in 2017 allowed for one recreational vehicle that does not exceed a length of 20 feet, or a height of 12 feet, or a width of 10 feet to be parked in the front parking zone of a residence.
It also states that any recreational vehicle or trailer that does not exceed a length of 35 feet, or a height of 12 feet, or a width of 10 feet can be parked on a street side, an interior side or a rear parking zone.
The new amendment, proposed by Councilwoman Lu Ann Kluch, would increase that length from 35 feet to 45 feet.
The maximum length for an RV or trailer to be parked in a front parking zone will remain at 20 feet.
Vehicles that exceed 20 feet in length will be permitted to be parked in the front parking zone on residential lots for five calendar days per month to allow for loading and unloading.
This new ordinance would impact mainly owners of Class A motor homes, which can exceed 35 feet in length.
While the new ordinance would give a little more wiggle room to RV owners, Councilman Steve Sunde believes not enough is being done to give RV owners the freedom he believes they deserve.
“I believe it’s a liberty issue,” Sunde said. “I think people should be able to use their own property, as long as it’s not causing harm or damage to others. I think it comes down to people don’t like the way it looks on someone’s property. We’re attempting to legislate ugly and that’s not right. I think if people looked hard enough, they could find something wrong with everyone’s house.
“Now if they park something in front of their house that looks like junk, there are remedies for that with nuisance ordinances. But I haven’t seen a lot of junked RVs around Papillion. I have neighbors with RVs and it’s never bothered me or affected my property value.”
Sunde believes residents who have purchased an RV should be given the right to keep it stored on their property, as long as they are following some basic guidelines.
He plans to propose an amendment to the current ordinance that would allow RV owners to keep their RV on a front pad or side driveway as long as it is far enough from the street and sidewalk.
“We have people who have spent money on a front pad, and we’re going to tell them they can’t use it?” he said. “I don’t believe that to be fair. That was the way it was before, I don’t know why we had to change it.”
Sunde won his spot on the City Council in the November election and one of his campaign promises was to re-visit the RV ordinance.
“When I ran my campaign, that was one of the issues I mentioned specifically, and I won almost two-thirds of the vote,” Sunde said.
“People work hard, and RVs are an escape for some people. I myself don’t own an RV, but I get that people want to enjoy the fruits of their labor and if they build a pad to put it on, I don’t see how that harms anybody.
“We pledge the flag before every (City Council) meeting and talk about liberty and justice for all. To me, that means people should have the freedom to enjoy their own property. I’d like to think our city has better things to do than pick on a subsect of citizens like that.”