Fraser considering regulations for RVs on private property
The Fraser Board of Trustees busted a local urban legend at its regular meeting Wednesday evening when it discussed regulations for recreational vehicles on private property.
Currently, the town doesn’t regulate living or camping in RVs on private property, despite a rumor that it was illegal. However, that may change in the future, as board members weighed housing availability, impacts to neighbors, safety and the potential cost to the water, sewer and power systems.
“There are provisions for establishing a campground, like a KOA type thing, but that’s not what we’re talking about here,” said Town Manager Jeff Durbin. “We’re talking about someone staying in an RV in someone else’s driveway.”
A Fraser resident shared his experience with his neighbors’ son moving his RV into his neighbors’ backyard and living there for around a year.
“Not only do I have to look at this trailer in the yard, the view is gone in my backyard, … but is this going to get out of hand,” asked Don Dreher. “At least if you come into town with your motorhome and all that, have a little respect for your neighbors.”
Durbin estimated that there may be around five or six other cases on an annual basis in town where people are living in RVs on private property.
Trustees Ryan Barwick and Katie Soles noted that people are living in RVs on private property in part because of the shortage of affordable housing and suggested it could be part of a larger solution to housing.
“It’s a tough one because so many people are struggling for a place to live and if they can park their trailer in someone’s backyard, use their water … it’s like having company over at your house,” Soles said. “But then for how long?”
While Trustee Parnell Quinn agreed that the RV could be a residential unit, he felt the town should classify them as an accessory dwelling unit and regulate them that way.
However, other members of the board were concerned about safety and health if the RV is not hooked up to utilities. Trustee Andy Miller said they require residences to have sewer and water and wouldn’t want to allow people to live in unsanitary conditions.
“I’d like to think we think ahead a little bit and part of that is requiring residences to be hooked up to water and sewer,” Miller said. “How can it be a living unit if it’s not hooked up to utilities?”
He and Durbin also commented on the potential effects of RVs using utilities when the town hasn’t planned on that added capacity.
“I understand the desperation for housing, but we need to recognize we’ve got sanitation and density issues that we plan for with our land use planning that the RVs are just plopped in the middle of.”
Ultimately, the board agreed that there was enough concern about using RVs as a full-time residence that they asked town staff to research what other communities are doing and what possible regulations could look like.
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