The Loxahatchee Groves Town Council approved the preliminary reading Tuesday, Nov. 3 of an ordinance allowing recreational vehicles to be parked on private property.
The ordinance had been introduced at the council’s previous meeting but was postponed to allow several changes, including the removal of the term “agricultural structures,” whose presence on a property would allow the parking of RVs, whereas the ordinance was designed to allow the parking of a certain number of RVs on land with a residential structure.
Councilwoman Laura Danowski said she had received calls from residents asking why the reference to agricultural structures had been removed.
“The logic was somebody could throw up a lean-to and call it an agricultural structure,” said Danowski, who asked if a definition of “agricultural structures” could be added. “We are an ag community, and why are we taking out ‘ag structure?’”
Councilwoman Phillis Maniglia said the purpose of the ordinance was to avoid having RV parks on vacant land.
“That’s what the people don’t want,” Maniglia said. “Not everybody is equestrian in this town, and the people feel the equestrians are getting a lot of benefit.”
She pointed out that someone could have an ornate barn on a property, but it would not be a residence, and she felt some people might take advantage of the definition of an agricultural structure to park an excessive number of RVs on the property.
Town Manager Jamie Titcomb said the question could be referred to the Unified Land Development Advisory Committee to construct a definition of agricultural structures.
Vice Mayor Marge Herzog asked if there are protections for some RV parks in town that had been grandfathered in before the town incorporated, and Titcomb said he would research their status if he were provided addresses.
Councilman Robert Shorr said he would like staff to put together a fee schedule so the council could understand the financial impact of the ordinance.
“This ordinance is just letting them do it,” Shorr said. “Staff is going to have to put together a whole process about how they go about doing it.”
He pointed out that one of the driving factors of creating the ordinance was to control the pumping out of RV waste illegally.
Maniglia made a motion to approve the first reading of the ordinance, which carried 5-0.
Under the ordinance, all RVs would be allowed on a temporary basis for no more than 180 days provided that there is a residential dwelling on the parcel. A registration permit would be set by a council resolution, which would be valid for six months and be required for each RV on site.
One RV would be allowed on parcels less than two acres, two RVs on property between two and less than 10 acres, and no more than four RVs on property of 10 acres or more. Placement of the RVs must be set back from property lines at least 25 feet and must be hooked up or have access to electrical service and potable well and sanitary sewer services. People residing in the RV must be able to show a permanent residence in another location.