IOB Council approves allowing RVs temporarily
The Ingleside on the Bay City Council discussed the matter at great length before taking action to approve the use of RVs/trailers for temporary housing as a homeowner makes repairs and/or rebuilds his/her residence. The action was taken at a regular term meeting Tuesday, Sept. 19.
In addressing the issue, city council members expressed several concerns.
Mayor Jo Ann Ehmann said the consideration of allowing RVs is in reference to Ordinance 2014-3 providing for recreational vehicles, which was passed in July 2014. That ordinance itself does not allow anyone to live in an RV in IOB, and there are no trailers allowed in IOB.
She explained there is Section 5 in the ordinance which allows for catastrophic events. The city may allow residents who are rebuilding to apply for a special circumstance permit which will provide residents the ability to temporarily reside in an RV on their lot during reconstruction of the family home. At this time, the mayor said, IOD does not allow people who are building new structures to live on the property.
Under these circumstances, however, the City has the ability to issue a special permit allowing an RV. Ehmann said they have had several inquiries from people who have had significant damage to their home, and who own an RV and want to be able to stay in it while making repairs.
Ehmann said if the council decides to approve the measure, she suggests they have a time limit. She said the council also must address the issues about hookup for sewer, water, and electricity for the RVs. Council member Leonna Robbins agreed they should allow the permits, and set a time limit.
Council member Cindy Young suggested the City receive proof from a contractor a homeowner is in the process of work. If the contractor says the work is going to take four months, it should take four months; if it goes longer, then the homeowner can apply for an extension, she added. “In the past, which is why we have an ordinance, we have had people take advantage,” Young explained.
Ehmann said one problem the building department is concerned about is if an RV has a cleanout, then it must be inspected to make sure it is done properly.
Councilman Tom Merrick also said he likes the idea of a special circumstance permit.
Young pointed out she does not think they should charge for the permit due to the circumstances. Ehmann said there are other permits issued for which there is no charge, and more for keeping track of what is taking place.
A member of the audience said time is critical, and whatever process or inspections are required, the IOB has to plan for being able to perform those inspections rather quickly. “There are people on the street right now and they can’t find a place to live,” he said
The mayor also said they need make sure no one parks more than one on RV on a property and rents them out.
Another member of the audience told the council he does not understand how they can set a time frame, pointing out everyone’s repairs are going to be different.
The council discussed time limits at length, as well as the need for property owners to show progress is being made on repairs to their homes.
When asked about the number of requests at this time, the mayor said there have been four, but pointed out the worst of the destruction was on Bayshore and most of the residents don’t live here full time.
After a few more minutes of discussion, Gillespie made the motion to approve allowing RVS and the council agreed to the following restrictions: allow permits for three months, permit can be renewed and property will be inspected every three months until work is complete, RV/ property will be inspected for utility hookups, the permit time is capped at one year, the council can revoke the permit at any time, to live in RV one must be owner of the property, and only one RV per property is allowed. The motion was seconded by Young and it carried unanimously.