Merriam attempt to loosen restrictions on temporary RV, boat storage heads back to planning commission

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The proposal would have allowed temporary storage of RVs forward of the front building line. (File)

An attempt to loosen restrictions for Merriam residents who need to temporarily have their boats, recreational vehicles (RVs), campers or trailers on the driveway to get them ready is being sent back to the planning commission for more revisions.

The planning commission already has considered the issue during four separate meetings and in November was able to forward a suggested ordinance to the city council. Merriam currently does not allow the RVs, boats or trailers to be parked forward of the front building line. The amendment to city regulations was designed to give residents more flexibility in getting their equipment ready for use by allowing a temporary parking in front of the house. Merriam is the only nearby city that does not allow temporary parking, city staff said.

However, the proposal hit a snag when councilors this week objected to the fact that it would exclude truck campers or shells from the allowed vehicles. Councilor Jim Wymer also objected to a provision that limits the temporary storage in front of the building line to only two 48-hour periods within any 30-day period, suggesting that people who “go fishing everyday” would be disadvantaged.

“I do admire the idea that we are trying to loosen it up so we can be like other cities,” Wymer said. I don’t know who it is that a motor home offends anyway.”

Councilor Robert Weems also questioned a 10-foot setback from the curb, which staff said was for safety and to prevent the sidewalk from being blocked.

“I think we are losing sight of the fact that we are talking about residential neighborhoods”, said Councilor Nancy Hupp. “We need to protect the quality of our neighborhoods and not let them become storage lots.”

A motion to remove truck campers from the definition of RV, but approve the rest of the provisions failed for lack of a second. Another motion to send it back to the planning commission was approved with directions to reconsider truck campers, the time period for temporary storage and the frequency.