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Parking rules remain for now

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Don’t worry about stricter rules on where you can park your boat or motor home in Greenwood, at least not yet.

The Greenwood City Council decided unanimously Monday to keep current boat and recreational vehicle regulations in place instead of approving tougher regulations that would be similar to what homeowners associations have, which had been proposed as a way to preserve property values.

A council committee will study possible changes to the rules, such as whether campers, trailers and other vehicles should be allowed in the front of driveways, if they should be parked on concrete pads instead of on grass in backyards and if homeowners should be allowed just one vehicle instead of one of each type.

New proposals could be considered as soon as February, and Greenwood code enforcement officers will be more active in enforcing existing rules, council vice president Mike Campbell said.

Greenwood has been considering proposed restrictions that would keep residents from parking boats, trailers, campers and recreational vehicles in front of their houses. The city was considering requiring them to be parked out of sight or only on concrete pads, with the hope of improving the city’s appearance and boosting property values.

Anyone breaking the proposed rules would face fines if they didn’t move their vehicles into storage.

The rules are similar to those that many homeowners associations already have. Council member Ron Bates said he originally proposed them to protect residents who live in older neighborhoods that don’t have active homeowners associations.

The council voted 8-0 Monday to keep the current rules in place with one tweak. The city will no longer prohibit parking a boat or RV anywhere on a corner lot with two front yards, a ban that residents criticized at recent meetings.

Five residents spoke at Monday’s meeting. They offered council members a variety of suggestions, including that the owners of corner lots should not be forced to put boats or RVs in storage and that they should only be parked on pads made of concrete, not gravel.

The council should consider the appearance of boats and motor homes parked in driveways, yards and streets, Resident Tim Huggins said. They should be especially cautious about allowing such vehicles to be parked in the street, where they could block traffic, emergency vehicles and snow plows, he said.

“There’s a public safety issue if they’re parked on public thoroughfares,” he said.

The city rules would supersede less-stringent homeowners association rules, but residents would still have to follow any homeowners association rules that are tougher than what the city required, council member Bruce Armstrong said.

Resident Fran Kessler said the city’s job wasn’t to enforce homeowners association rules.

Different neighborhoods have different sized lots for homes, universal rules wouldn’t be appropriate everywhere and the council should be cautious about making personal taste the law, she said.

“I hope that you have the wisdom of Solomon if you want to make these rules fit everywhere when you have lots of different lot sizes,” Kessler said.

“One person’s aesthetics is another person’s eyesore. I drool at the mouth when I see these big class A campers, but people who aren’t campers would frown to see them in the yard,” she said.

Council members have received a variety of opinions from residents who are passionate about the issue and have different

opinions on what is best, Campbell said.

He said the council needed to meet in committee, where it could discuss the issues less formally, to see if council members could reach any agreement about new rules. The council still has issues to consider, such as whether both a boat and a camper could be parked outside a single home, he said, but they should carefully consider any new proposal.

“I don’t want to make a bad decision that most would be opposed to,” he said. “We should do it right, get it correct.”

Campbell, Bates, Erza Hill, Linda Gibson and Tim McLaughlin will serve on the committee.

Committee meetings would be open to the public, but none have been scheduled yet.

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