The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council approved the preliminary reading of an ordinance on Tuesday, Oct. 20 that would regulate recreational vehicles on private property.
Although the wording of the ordinance raised some discussion, council members felt that the ordinance was worth approving with further tweaking before the final reading.
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia pointed out that there is no provision for RVs for people who are in the process of developing their property but allows RVs on property with a minimal agricultural structure.
“The reason the RV ordinance is here is mainly because it was being abused by some, and then the equestrians needed it for their industry,” Maniglia said, explaining that some people who have applied for a site plan to build a structure would have no recourse to have an RV while construction is underway.
Under the new ordinance, RVs would be allowed on a temporary basis in agricultural districts not to exceed 180 days, and a permit would be required for each vehicle site.
No recreational vehicle would be allowed on parcels less than one acre. Two RVs would be allowed on parcels between one and five acres, and no more than four RVs would be allowed on parcels greater than five acres.
Council members said there should be an allowance for one RV for properties under one acre.
The RV would be required to be hooked up to or have access to appropriate electrical service, potable well water and sanitary sewer facilities.
An application for a new registration permit would be accepted by the town after a minimum of six months unless the site was used initially for less than six months, in which case a permit could be issued for the remaining time period.
The ordinance does not apply to caretaker’s quarters, grooms’ quarters and construction trailers, and does not change the current code of ordinances regulating RVs. There must be a residential dwelling or agricultural structure on the parcel, for living, sleeping or housekeeping purposes.
Maniglia said the purpose of the ordinance is to prevent an excessive number of RVs on any property and to prevent RVs from occupying vacant property. However, she pointed out that the current wording of the ordinance would allow RVs on vacant property if it had as little as a lean-to on it.
Councilman Robert Shorr felt that a barn or other agricultural structure on the property should not be a license to permit RVs.
“I think you should have a residential dwelling on each property,” Shorr said. “I think residential dwelling is the backbone of the infrastructure — the water, sewer, electric that’s all permitted, that’s designed for somebody to live there. Then if you want to have auxiliary uses, RVs and such, that would tie into it. Our tax base is nothing without that residential structure.”
Mayor Lisa El-Ramey said that the necessary changes could be made before the ordinance is finalized. “I think we’ve got language to move forward,” she said.
Town Manager Jamie Titcomb said the town attorney would adopt language they had discussed for presentation at the council’s next meeting. Councilwoman Laura Danowski made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, which carried 5-0.