Jason Hannah, 46, has lived in his RV for the past two years in Redmond, ever since he was evicted from his apartment. He said because he moves every couple days to different locations and picks up trash and performs yardwork for the homeowners near where he parks his RV, he hasn’t had any complaints.
“They like me living next to them; they don’t have to mow their yard,” Hannah said, chuckling.
But RV dwellers in Redmond will start receiving more attention — and potentially citations — starting Aug. 8. The Redmond City Council unanimously approved an update to Redmond’s city code last week that will make it easier for the city to handle RV complaints. These changes are in response to a rising number of complaints from Redmond residents about RVs taking up space on roads and on people’s property.
John Roberts, Redmond’s deputy city manager, said at last week’s City Council meeting the main addition to the city code regarding RVs is explicit criteria for what constitutes permanent residence in the vehicles. The amended code says a person is living full time in an RV if two or more items on a checklist are met. These criteria include the RV being connected to water, sewer or power; adding permanent structures to the RV such as a deck; if the RV can’t be used as a functional vehicle; or if windows or the underside of the RV has been sealed or additionally insulated.
“(The code) being a lot more vague, it was invariably more difficult to enforce,” Roberts said after the meeting.
Roberts said the city receives more than 100 complaints about RVs in rights of way per year, and about 10 annual complaints about RVs on people’s property. A March city staff report lists specific complaints the city has received regarding the vehicles.
“In my general area there are camp trailers and utility trailers parked on the streets in violation of city code and no one seems to do anything about it,” one complaint stated.
“We live in a nice area; it is zoned as single-family homes, not single-family plus people living in driveways,” said another complaint.
Roberts said there is a large number of RVs used as permanent homes throughout Redmond.
“Sometimes I feel like you could throw a stone and hit an RV in this community,” he said.
According to Roberts, the city addresses RVs based on complaints and staffers don’t “go out looking for violations.” If someone complains to the city about an RV in a street, the police handle the situation. If the complaint is about somebody living in an RV in their yard or on a driveway, the city’s code compliance officers would first make sure the complaint is legitimate. If the issue isn’t fabricated or embellished, then the city will give the RV owner some time to move their vehicle, usually about two weeks. If the RV isn’t moved by then, a citation of $500 will be given. If the fine isn’t paid after a certain amount of time, it doubles, Roberts said.
If someone lives in an RV because he or she is homeless, Roberts said moving that person’s vehicle becomes “very tricky, very complicated,” because some people experiencing homelessness struggle with their behavioral or mental health.
There are a few exceptions to the RV laws: People in RV parks are fine, as well as people living in an RV during construction on their home. Living in the vehicles is also allowed if someone is sick and people need to live next to their home to help with that person daily.
Mayor George Endicott said updating the code will help keep Redmond “an appealing town.”
“If (an RV) is delaying the flow of traffic, if a property is looking not up-to-snuff … that’s not an image that we want to portray for Redmond,” he said Monday.
Hannah, who works as a freelance mechanic and framer, said he hadn’t heard of the city updating its code regarding RVs. He blamed the coming enforcement on other people who live in RVs for not being considerate of neighbors.
“That’s the problem — there’s more of those stupid heads than people that care,” he said. “About 80% (of people who live in RVs) don’t give a crap — they’re just focused on their addiction or their alcohol.”
Hannah said he would appreciate if Redmond considered creating a city-monitored space where people could park their RVs instead of just sweeping them away.
“I’d pay money for a place where I can park for weeks at a time,” he said. “The (RV parks) are all taken … and it’s pretty expensive.”
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