Overland Park exploring changes to trash screening, trailer storage, commercial vehicle parking regulations

Overland Park says it receives a high level of complaints from residents who have a hard time complying with the city’s trash can screening requirements.

Overland Park officials are considering changes to regulations that would no longer allow commercial vehicles to be parked at residences. The ordinance changes are still very much in formative stages but have been proposed because the current rules are difficult to enforce and not well defined. City officials are also looking at changes to screening rules for boats, recreational vehicles and garbage bins.

The city council’s community development committee discussed the changes at its meeting Wednesday night. The changes were the product of reviews by a task force of neighborhood volunteers meeting with city officials several times since last August. Committee Chairman Curt Skoog said the public would have a chance to comment before any changes are made final.

Current ordinances allow commercial vehicles to be parked at homes for 24 hours no more than two days within a 30-day period. But once reported, it takes multiple trips by city staff to establish whether there’s been an infraction. Commercial vehicles are defined as those more than 20 feet long, eight feet tall or 9 feet wide and more than 10,000 pounds. It’s the dimensions that determine whether a vehicle is commercial, not the signage.

Other proposed changes applied to storage of RVs, trailers and boats. More than one such vehicle could be stored in side or rear yards and the twice-in-a-month limit would be removed. However they could not take up more than 20 percent of the area of the yard and may not exceed the height of the screening fence, which is limited to eight feet.

Trash screening requirements also could have proposed changes because the current rules have a high volume of complaints from people who have a hard time complying, according to city documents. City officials noted trash screening as a violation 654 times last year.

Terrain and landscaping can make it impossible to screen the bins from the street and neighbors. The city could remove screening requirements altogether or loosen them up to allow the screening to be built in front of the building line.

Overland Park resident Sandra Campbell told the committee the restrictions on commercial vehicles could be hard on lower income people who would have a hard time paying for the extra driving to vehicle storage sites. The fencing requirements for RVs could result in “eight-foot privacy fences going up all over,” she said.

“It seems to me that within the city there are areas where people want to live under a lot of restrictions. They’re called HOAs,” Campbell said. “A great place to live if you’re concerned about uniform looking properties and feel compelled to control your neighbors.”

“I am all in when it comes to safety and sanitation. What I don’t want is to see Overland Park become the city known as an overly restrictive and expensive city to live in,” she said.