Officials in Richardson, Texas, have reached a settlement with residents who sued the city over an ordinance that restricts parking of recreational vehicles in neighborhoods, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Under the terms of the settlement, which was reached last week, both sides agreed that the ordinance is valid, but its regulations won’t be enforced by the city until July 1, 2007.
“I think it’s helpful for us to have this matter resolved and for us to be able to move forward,” Assistant City Manager David Morgan said of the agreement.
“At the present time, it’s the best deal we could work out without a long, drawn-out case that would have gone on for years and years,” said John Nelson, one of three plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed October 2004.
Richardson is one of a growing number of cities that are tightening parking restrictions on recreational vehicles in response to residents who feel they’re eyesores that devalue property and create safety hazards.
But many RV owners say that the concerns are unfounded and that prohibitive ordinances restrict property owner rights.
Richardson’s ordinance, one of the most restrictive in the Dallas area, bans long-term parking of motorhomes, boats, trailers, campers and jet skis in front of homes. It also requires vehicles parked beside or behind homes to be screened from street view.
The city’s ordinance went into effect in February 2005, but it hasn’t been enforced pending the outcome of the lawsuit. The case was set to go to trial Tuesday.
Nelson and the other plaintiffs, Robert J. Rice and Louis Boudreaux, sought exemption from the regulations, contending that they’d bought their vehicles before the ordinance was enacted. Lacking space to park their vehicles beside or behind their homes, they would have to park them at storage facilities at considerable expense, according to the lawsuit.
Under the agreement, no one will be exempt from the regulations, but the delay in enforcement will provide more time for RV owners to comply.
At the time the ordinance was passed, city officials estimated that there were 1,400 RV owners in Richardson, and that nearly half would have to make changes to avoid fines up to $2,000.