BZA denies first RV parking request
Not exactly Roe v. Wade or Brown v. the Board of Education but the City of Greencastle v. Larry and Betty Teall stands as a landmark local zoning case.
The Tealls, who sought a development standards variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) for storage of an RV at their 102 Woodhaven Drive home, were denied Tuesday night on a 3-0 vote with Andrew Ranck, Paul Champion and Jon Clark in favor of the ruling and BZA member Doug Wokoun abstaining.
While it was the first decision under new RV regulations in Greencastle, it certainly won’t be the last, City Planner Scott Zimmerman assured.
Zimmerman reported contacting nearly two dozen residents whose RVs were in violation of the local ordinance with about 12 of those removing the offending RV.
It is allowable under the ordinance to park the RV in front in the driveway for up to four days, essentially to load or unload for a camping trip.
“Some are still playing the game,” Zimmerman said, “leaving it out front for four days and then moving it.”
A handful of other RV owners were able to move their RV to a side yard, while at least two have been warned they remain in violation.
Then there’s the Tealls. They got a letter Oct. 1 and immediately contacted Zimmerman in an attempt to resolve the problem.
The Tealls have owned their Southwood Village home since 1994 and their RV for nine years. They illegally (unbeknownst to them) added to the concrete of their driveway in 2021 to accommodate the RV and encroached into the city right of way along Woodhaven Drive in doing so.
“We’re right at the entrance to the subdivision, across from Country Place Apartments, the only house really facing the road,” Betty Teall said.
She and husband Larry praised Zimmerman and the BZA in turn praised the Tealls for prompt attention to the issue, even though their variance request was voted down. The Tealls were given until May 1 to permanently relocate the RV.
Zimmerman noted in his findings of fact that strict application of the ordinance did not result in a practical difficulty in use of the property since the RV could fit in the side yard on the north side of the yard (although the area is occupied by a trampoline and above-ground pool).
The RV issue arose locally due to the growing number of recreational vehicles popping up in driveways and front yards around Greencastle as alternate vacation options peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing the city to update its RV storage standards.
As adopted by the City Council last July, the new ordinance allows:
-- An RV -- motorized home, motor coach, camping trailer, boat, travel trailer or snowmobile -- to be parked in a front yard driveway for four days as long as it does not extend into the right of way or block a sight triangle.
-- An RV may be stored in the side yard but not extend into the required side-yard setback for the zoning district. If it does, it must be behind an approved privacy fence.
-- Instead of just one RV parked outside, two are allowed, with the provision that only one is allowed in a side yard. Others have to be in the rear or in a garage.
-- The storage or parking of recreational vehicles in side yards must be on an improved surface, defined as gravel, stone, asphalt or cement. If gravel or stone is used, it must be contained within a defined area with a physical border of wood, metal or block. If a driveway is extended to a storage area, the extension must be paved in cement or asphalt.
-- It remains illegal to use an RV for overnight sleeping or living on a residential lot.
In other business, the BZA:
-- Heard Zimmerman report that there was nothing new on the planned Aspire subdivision, the proposed 22-acre project on property between Albin Pond Road and Fawn View Lane including 27 single-family homes and 20 two-family dwellings. The project was withdrawn at the November BZA meeting.
“They did not submit anything new to review,” Zimmerman said, adding that he knows Aspire is trying to explore options of what to do without asking for a variance, special exception or rezoning.
Then, no BZA appearance would be necessary “as along as they meet our lot sizes for single-family homes,” he added.
However, including two-family or multi-family dwellings in the plan would require asking the BZA for a special exception.
-- Agreed to a 2022 calendar that has the BZA meeting the first Tuesday each month at 6 p.m. at City Hall.