GULFPORT — Residents who park RVs in their yards can breathe a sigh of relief after the City Council voted to make some minor changes to recreational vehicle regulations.
Most of the original ordinance, adopted in the 1990s, remains intact, but council members voted 3 to 2 Tuesday to make the following changes:
• Only one RV per parcel. Previously, there was no limit.
• Class B recreational vehicles (large vans with living facilities) used for daily transportation are exempt from the ordinance.
• The RV can be lived in five days at a time (previously, it was three) no more than twice a year as long as the owner gets a free city permit.
• RVs can be hooked up to electricity; previously, they couldn't be hooked to any utility.
The new ordinance goes into effect in 90 days.
The main point of the old ordinance remains in effect: no parking in front yards.
The council has discussed RV parking since January, when the city identified 50 recreational vehicles parked in the city, 38 of which were not in compliance with the existing ordinance, according to City Manager Jim O'Reilly.
Although officials tried to figure out how to bring RVs in compliance, six months of discussion failed to result in new rules everyone could agree upon.
Instead, council members decided to make only minor changes and then leave the rest to a variance process — in which each noncompliance is considered on a case-by-case basis — that they hope to have formulated before the new law takes effect.
"Each lot in the city is unique. There is no ordinance that can appease every single lot owner," council member David Hastings said.
Resident Al Davis, who lives on a cul-de-sac on Clam Bayou, told the council his pie-shaped lot prevents him and his neighbors from parking their RVs and boats in their back yards.
Yvonne Johnson, another resident who spoke at the meeting, said many Gulfport lots don't have side or back yards — or alleys to get to the back of the property.
"I'm fortunate. I have four lots. I have someplace to park mine. But I can appreciate the fact that a lot of people don't," Johnson said.