City issues few tickets on boat, RV parking

In the two years since new rules were approved on where boats, RVs and trailers can be parked in Greenwood neighborhoods, more than 100 complaints have been made.

But, so far, fewer than 10 citations have been written, and only two fines have been collected.

This year, about five complaints resulted in a written citation, and only one $50 fine has been collected, according to the city clerk’s office.

In most cases, the owner of a boat or RV parked in a driveway or along the street typically just moves the offending vehicle, and no other complaints are made. But in the cases where a ticket was issued, the resident either didn’t move their vehicle at all or didn’t have another place to take it.

In 2013, Greenwood added rules on how many boats can be kept in your driveway at once, the distance an RV has to be from the road or street and where you can keep a trailer on your property. The rules were added to Greenwood’s city code after officials received phone calls about boats and RVs taking up too much space on a street or driveway or becoming an eyesore in a neighborhood.

The reason for implementing the restrictions wasn’t to write citations and pass out fines, though. The city just wants to maintain property values, code enforcement officer Steve Shirley said.

When code enforcement officers notify a resident of the rules, the problem is resolved without further action almost every time, Deputy Mayor Terry McLaughlin said.

Trailers, RVs and boats can’t be parked on grass and can’t be within 10 feet of the sidewalk, street or public right of way for longer than 24 hours, according to city code.

Currently, about 10 violations of those rules are reported per month, McLaughlin said. Code enforcement officers inform homeowners of the rules in place and sometimes find out they weren’t aware, McLaughlin said.

In the past year, 124 complaints were received about vehicles and property parked or stored illegally, McLaughlin said.

The first time a code enforcement officer notifies someone of the rules is considered a verbal warning, and the property owner or resident then has 10 days to take care of the problem. Most of the time, the issue has been taken care of by the time they come back, McLaughlin said.

But if it hasn’t, a citation can be written. From there, a $50 or $75 fine would follow if the problem was not taken care of, according to city code. All fines after $75 would be $100.

Despite more than 100 calls for RV and boat violations, grass height complaints are still the most common, McLaughlin said. Shirley is the city’s only full-time code enforcement officer. In the spring and summer, he is joined by two, six-month seasonal employees to assist with tall-grass complaints.

Code enforcement helps residents become more informed about the city code and rules and regulations. When officers stop to inform a resident they’re often doing so under the assumption the homeowner or property owner isn’t aware, McLaughlin said.

Residents are receptive, and many times they don’t know about the code, Shirley said.

And for those who are aware, the city offers a chance for them to come before the board of public works and safety to request a waiver of the rules.

This year, the board has approved four waivers, allowing the residents to keep an RV or boat parked in their driveway or backyard. Waivers can be requested when residents are leaving for a long vacation or would rather keep a trailer or RV at their property than a storage facility.

“I believe residents realize we are their partners. We don’t want to be forceful, we just want people to know what the city code is,” Shirley said. “For the most part, people are very willing to comply with city code, and we appreciate that.”

Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2719.