Dear Randy: Parking on the Lawn

A new piece where Mayor Randy Voepel answers resident questions and comments- this first one looks at laws and reasoning behind parking trailers and vehicles on the front lawn.

You can call up , send emails all over, and reach out in many directions in looking for an answer to a local problem or help with an issue- or we can get that question right to , and he can use his resources and local government know-how to get the best answer around.

Send your questions or comments on any topic, preferably a local issue, to steven.bartholow@patch.com, or leave it as a comment below, and we'll pass it onto Mayor Voepel. He's agreed to shoot for answering one a week, so let's get those questions coming!

Q: Other than going in front of the , is there another way to suggest a change in the cities laws in the way residents can park their travel or motorcycle trailers?  

When I turned in three of my neighbors for parking their trailers on their grass in their front yard code compliance told them just to put gravel around them to make it look like a parking area.  

I have been really trying to clean the neighborhood up to look presentable and it still looks trashy with the trailers parked in the front yard. Take a drive down Todos Santos Drive and see what I mean.

A: Many of the homes that were built in Santee before we became a City were built on relatively small 6,000 square foot lots.The drive ways of these lots are small and limited. As Santee has prospered, many of the homeowners have bought RV's, boats, trailers, etc. Because of the limited driveway parking and the 72 hour street parking limit (72 hours discourages long term parking on the streets) the City Council does allow either gravel or concrete auxiliary driveways if there is room in the front yards.

I myself have a gravel drive way next to my regular driveway and park my trailer on it legally. I agree with you that some of the items parked in front yards make Santee look like "hickville", but in a sense many of our older neighborhoods are 'hickvilles.'

In my neighborhood the rich folk live up the hill (very nice houses on 1/2 acre) and the poorer folks live down the hill (6,000 sq. Ft. lots, 40 year old+ houses). The rich folk up the hill constantly complain to me about the poor folk (uncut lawns, RV parking, barking dogs, and yes chickens) and demand that I come in with City Authority and clean up the messes.

Well, I have a problem with that... one persons mess is another persons lifestyle/exercise of personal freedom, etc. If code is being violated and we have a complaint, the City will enforce the code. We do not, however, in general practice "police" or patrol for code violations, we go on a case by case basis.

I hope this answer, while not helping you directly, at least explains why Santee allows frontyard parking.


Randy Voepel

Mayor, City of Santee

PS; I live down the hill with the poorer folks.

Christal Ferris November 22, 2011 at 03:06 AM
Oh, and I will take a picture first thing in the morning.
Christal Ferris November 22, 2011 at 04:14 AM
I totally get what you mean about priorities. I guess I just try to give others the benefit of the doubt.
Christal Ferris November 28, 2011 at 01:12 AM
Picture posted. Not the best pic, but I guess it works.
Bryceson Cabading November 28, 2011 at 01:51 AM
That doesn't look bad at all Christal. You can hardly notice the RV, it fits in perfectly and doesn't make the yard look bad at all!
Kathy November 28, 2011 at 03:19 AM
Christal, if everyone stored their RV or Trailer like you do, I would not think anyone would have a problem with it. You, know how to be a responsible RV owner, I wish others were too. I only have a problem if RV or Trailer are stored on front lawns, streets or hang over onto the sidewalk when parked on their driveway. Most of the homes in Santee, with exception of some of the newer ones have space on the side of their homes. Thank you for sharing and how nice it looks.
Daz Paris November 28, 2011 at 06:00 PM
WHERE are these photos "posted" ?
Barbara B November 30, 2011 at 03:39 PM
I too have been upset with the city council on occasion but honestly, the vitriol spilled here is over the top. Santee's council and sheriff's deparment do a good job overall - we have great parks, minimal crime, decent roads, fast sheriff response and a responsive council.... I can appreciate the wish for fewer motorhomes (or giant trucks too for that matter) however more laws governing people's personal property use BEYOND PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUES isn't the path. Do we really need deputies tied up with trailer law enforcement? Oh Brother! Go talk to your neighbor! Build a fence, plant a hedge, or move into a closed housing community with the restrictions you embrace! I appreciate Mayor Voepel's reluctance to impose more controls on his neighbors! Laws cannot create good sense, good taste or good manners.
Kyris Goularte November 30, 2011 at 04:42 PM
Kathy, you want motor homes in driveways or along side homes.Your main complaint is when they are on the street (already illegal for extended periods of time), hanging over the sidewalk, (again, already illegal), or on the lawn. I agree an RV on the lawn looks out of place with grass growing up around it. The problem is that there are many here that don't even want them in the driveway. Others probably don't even want them alongside the house if they can be seen from the street. Who gets to decide what looks acceptable and what doesn't? Do I get to decide? You? Motivated Citizen? I poured a slab, taking up part of what used to be my lawn and my RV can park on that slab without hanging over the sidewalk. It's not back behind my home because I am not lucky enough to have a lot where I have that much room between my home and my neighbors. It's legal. It may not be what you want or what Motivated wants but... It is on my property and it is properly maintained. Ironically, I don't park it here anymore. I CHOOSE to park it at the lakes under cover to protect it a little better.
Kyris Goularte November 30, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Agreed. We have so many things in this city that are right and good. Creating more laws that effect everyone for the few who don't maintain their homes is the wrong way to solve the problem. If your neighbor clutters their drive and you and the other neighbors feel it is excessive then go talk to the clutter keeper. Fix this as individuals instead of expecting the government to fix it for you. If you live in a neighborhood that is beautiful and pristine, what's the problem? For some of these people, the $100 a month is important right now. Maybe they bought that $200K home when times were goood. Maybe they bought the RV when things were better. (If you look at the pictures, most of the offending rigs are NOT $100K RVs and haven't been since the '80's). Maybe things aren't as good now. They can't sell the home for what they owe on it and most certainly can't sell the RV for anything close to what they paid or possibly owe. They can save that storage money and put food on the table though. Talk to them. Maybe they are just overwhelmed and looking for a suggestion or a little help to solve the problem too. Maybe they know the clutter needs cleaned up but their truck is not running. Maybe they don't realize that it bothers the neighbors. Maybe you are the only one it bothers. If so, what gives you the right to impose your will on the neighborhood?
Christal Ferris November 30, 2011 at 05:44 PM
Kyris, This is the message I was trying to convey throughout the entire comments section. You will not get through to people here because they only see things one way. They don't consider the back story of some of these people. They just want them to figure it out. It's the old I-can-do-it-so-why-can't-you attitude. Kinda sickening.
Kathy November 30, 2011 at 06:12 PM
Kyris, I only speak for myself. As I said, I see no problem with an RV parked on the driveway if, it does not extend onto the sidewalk or block your neighbors view for safely pulling out of their driveway. I have no problem with an RV parked on the side of a home or in their backyard. However, there is NO reason to park it on the street or on their lawn. When they purchased their RV or Trailer, they knew they would have to park it somewhere when not in use. So please spare me the "can't afford to pay the $100 storage fee". It doesn't fly with me. You don't need a truck to clean up clutter, bag it up and call Waste Management for a special pick up and they will, free of charge. Of course, it may involve some manual labor and some are just too lazy and don't care. I am blessed to live in a neighborhood that takes pride in their property, we have several with large RV's and they park them in an appropriate place. What gives me the RIGHT? I pay a mortgage, property taxes and do not want my home value to decrease anymore then the economy has caused, that's what gives me the RIGHT!
James Alan Jones November 30, 2011 at 06:18 PM
Hey Christal...are you not doing exactly what you are accusing " them " of doing?. You just assume that these are a bunch of " anti freedom, want to take away all our rights " type of people...I have been trying to see both sides of this issue. As I can understand where they are all coming from. As a home owner, I don't want a bunch of crummy looking RV's sitting in front yards making my street look like a bunch of " hicks " live there...But I also understand that people are having a hard time of it right now and maybe they are doing the best they can. But given that...Is there no solution to this problem?...Other neighborhoods don't have RV's parked in their yards...are they smarter than us?...If I had an RV that I no longer used or could afford to use and I started getting tickets for illegally parking it on my lawn I'd pretty quickly sell it or donate it or something.
Christal Ferris November 30, 2011 at 11:16 PM
No James, that is not what I am saying at all. I simply stated that many people seem short-sighted. What I mean is, some (note I said some not all) people may fall on hard times and they can no longer stow the RV. In the meantime, they store it at home. It's quite possible some of these people are looking to sell it because they can't afford it. The homes in the pictures are not indicative of the nature of most Santee residents who own RVs. They are few and far between. I do think it is unattractive to have RVs parked on lawns. I don't like it. That's why when I was looking to buy a home here, I looked at the neighborhood. Some of the homes I looked at were in less than desirable neighborhoods with RVs and the like everywhere. Guess what? I didn't buy a home there. There are nice neighborhoods and shitty neighborhoods. I chose a nice one just so I didn't have to look at that junk.
Christal Ferris December 01, 2011 at 01:02 AM
Please tell me where I said, "I do not care if people park these things on their front lawns, all up and down the streets or anwhere they see fit." Please. You and Kathy like to put words in people's mouths and ignore what they actually say.
Kathy December 01, 2011 at 01:13 AM
Christal, please point out one of my responses where I put word's in someone's mouth. If your going to accuse me, be prepared to back it up, instead of spouting out. I actually complimented how you stored your RV, what do you want from me??????????
Christal Ferris December 01, 2011 at 01:26 AM
Kathy, I know you complimented me. Earlier in the comments, you overlooked statements that I made. I said, if the property is well kept and there is one RV/boat/trailer in the front-side yard who cares. You chose to ignore that. As long as it is not thrashed like some of the photos MSC took, then I don't see the problem. The examples provided are not on every street or block like some seem to think. That is it.
Barbara B December 01, 2011 at 07:00 AM
The attendance at the council meeting regarding the dog park was SRO. I would imagine you would find a similar response if the right to park RVs on your own property was at risk. How do you suppose the majority would vote? Perhaps your efforts would be better spent on changing the rules on fencing to allow you to control your front yard view (i.e. like Coronado properties) or perhaps convincing the city or your neighbors to pitch in on a Good Neighbor Neighborhood Beautification grant? All that angst and energy could be put to use in a kind, useful way. Years ago I participated in a yard cleanup, house painting for a particularly bitter elderly woman whose home was a bit of an eyesore in a well kept neighborhood. She was too proud and unhappy to ask for help, her neighbors and some volunteers painted her house, planted roses and hauled away the weeds. It was a good time and it was a blessing to see a formally crabby lady soften up and smile. It took us a day. A little bit of kindness can do a lot for you and the neighbor. (Just sayin....... Happy Holidays!)
Barbara B December 01, 2011 at 07:37 AM
No need to vote? MSC has spoken? I won't torment you any further with a differing point of view or another set of priorities.... would a rose bush help? <Just kidding!!!> One of my favorite quotes: “I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual. I can only love one person at a time - just one, one, one. So you begin. I began - I picked up one person. Maybe if I didn't pick up that one person, I wouldn't have picked up forty-two thousand....The same thing goes for you, the same thing in your family, the same thing in your church, your community. Just begin - one, one, one.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta
just my opinion December 01, 2011 at 08:36 AM
The next city council meeting is 12/14 @7pm. How about all the supporters of trying to change the parking laws meet there.
just my opinion December 01, 2011 at 08:38 AM
The next city council meeting is 12/14 @7pm. All those in support of getting the RV parking laws changed should meet there.
just my opinion December 01, 2011 at 08:41 AM
The next city council meeting is 12/14 @7pm. All in favor of trying to change the RV parking laws should attend and voice their opinion. Maybe they will listen with enough support.
just my opinion December 01, 2011 at 08:43 AM
At the top of the page.
just my opinion December 02, 2011 at 10:47 PM
I was the one that originally started this firestorm by writing the letter to Randy. I also went to the city code compliance office with addresses of violations on my street. All were taken care of except the RV's parked on the lawns so I am doing my part. Have you taken addresses and liscence numbers down during your photo taking and turned them in?
Kathy December 13, 2011 at 12:04 AM
Yes, MSC, I will be attending the City Council Meeting with Photos in hand. I would like to see others that are fed up with these Violators to attend the meeting, as well. I think it will be taken more serious, the more that attend to ask our City Council why they have not been pro-active.
just my opinion December 13, 2011 at 06:32 AM
Kathy and MSC, I am also going to attend the city council meeting. Lets hope more supporters will attend.
just my opinion December 15, 2011 at 10:56 PM
I went to the meeting but nothing was said about the RV parking. Guess no one else attended.
Joe Spencer December 16, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Not sure what you may have been expecting. You can look ahead at the agenda for each meeting to see what is going to be discussed at each meeting. It is posted on the City of Santee's website prior to each meeting. I just looked at it again and saw that there was no item on the agenda for discussion of the RV topic so it should not have been expected. However...if there is a concern that is not on the agenda there is a place for Communication From The Public. I believe that you can either fill out a speaker card ahead of time or stand up at the time they reach the spot on the agenda and call for speakers. Regardless of what the procedure is...there was a time for you to speak if you had something to say. While it is always good to have support from others, the fact is if you believe in something why would you not speak up on your own? Why would you wait for others? I would suggest if you have a voice on any topic--pro or con--that you know the procedures ahead of time and know what is on the agenda for a meeting you are attending so you know what to expect and are prepared to speak at the appropriate time.
Kathy December 16, 2011 at 05:53 AM
I apologize for not attending the City Council Meeting on Wednesday. A good friend of mine was killed in a car accident Tuesday morning and I have been with the family since then until tonight. RIP Gloria, we love you.
Sharon Buxton July 14, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Exactly! The Mayor can pay my property taxes while I live where trailer trash is acceptable for "poor" people and allowing vacation toys stored on public streets as long as they move the tires every 72 hours. What self-respecting Republican would put any business out of business. RV storage provides a business opportunity and serves those "rich" enough for recreation. Poorer folks live down the hill because they support their fancy RVs instead of living up the hill. We will have to put up with whatever they mayor wants for himself. We have no public transportation for disabled people to shop in the city because the mayor doesn't use it.
just my opinion July 14, 2012 at 04:39 AM
It is time for a mayor that cares about our city. Elections are this Nov. Time for a change!!!


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