With the promise of no motel rooms and extended vacations on the road, recreational vehicles make a lot of sense for travelers with the desire to hit the highway.
But to those living in suburban areas – of which Spokane Valley has plenty – their streets often become clogged with fifth wheels and motorhomes that park in front of their apparently welcoming neighbors and stay.
And stay. And stay.
Peggy Doering – Valleyfest director and Valley resident – told the City Council that it’s time to put the brakes on the Winnebagos and Coachmen that take up quasi-permanent seasonal residence on roadways that are already widely used by local residents’ children and automobiles.
“My husband and I have four of them (in our neighborhood) in summer and fall, expanded with stairs down and cords,” Doering said. “I think there’s a reasonable concern we have.”
Doering’s timing couldn’t have come better, as the council is taking up the task of updating its nuisance provisions – which covers everything from junky yards to noise, dust and graffiti -- and the RV issue has been a concern that’s rolled along unchecked until now.
And the problem goes beyond well-meaning home owners welcoming family or friends for extended holidays to camp out on side streets. In some cases, some have taken up possibly year-round residence – strangers to those living nearby.
“It’s unclear how the human waste is taken care of, though we have an idea,” City Attorney Cary Driskell told the council. “There are neighbors complaining of some living outside of their house.”
Currently there are no prohibitions in Spokane Valley against folks setting up camp in motorhomes or travel trailers in rights-of-way unless they stay more than 30 days. But an increase in the number of complaints has prompted the city to take another look at adding some more teeth to the law.
The same 30-day rule applies to those staying in an RV parked in the driveway or rear of a residential property. That, too, will continue to be looked at, along with other potential nuisances such as homes with ongoing drug or other illegal activity, smelly or noisy animals, and seemingly never-ending yard sales.
City staffers will update council members at a future council meeting.