Boat, RV ordinance in Greenwood effective

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 a half-dozen 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 a driveway at once, the distance an RV has to be from the road or street and where to keep a trailer on a 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.

Officials say the reason for implementing the restrictions was not to write citations and pass out fines but to maintain property values. When code enforcement officers notify a resident of the rules, the problem is resolved without further action almost every time.

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.

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.

Resolving issues in this way would indicate that public education is the most effective way to deal with these kinds of problems, and the fines exist only as a way to persuade recalcitrant owners to act.

Code enforcement officer Steve Shirley expressed this clearly when he said: “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. For the most part, people are very willing to comply with city code, and we appreciate that.”

Local ordinances such as the one on RV and boat parking are vital to help keep communities clean and attractive. They help maintain property values, which benefits all residents.

But in the past, Greenwood was challenged in how to resolve issues with boat and RV parking. The ordinance, which includes the power to issue tickets, has allowed city workers to resolve many complaints quickly and efficiently. The fact that few tickets have been issued show that public education has been even more effective than the threat of a fine.

At issue

In the past, Greenwood had difficulty regulating how and where residents parked boats and recreational vehicles.

Our point

An ordinance that includes the power to issue tickets has allowed city workers to educate homeowners and resolve many complaints quickly and efficiently.