Monday, January 14, 2013
Many people in Valley Center say they're tired of hearing the word "sloppy" associated with their city. Through petitions they've encouraged the city to approve updates to the city's rules and regulations to clean up the area's image.
While most of the rules are seen as positive steps toward the beautification of the city, the rules concerning parking RVs and motorhomes in residential areas have drawn some frustration.
Owners are no longer allowed to park recreational vehicles in front of their homes. They must be parked on the side or in their backyard unless they have no other choice and apply for, and receive, a certificate.
The RV has become a big part of life for Valley Center's Roger Williams. He and his wife started "RV'ing" in 1996.
"We love the outdoors, we love sightseeing in beautiful America," Williams said.
In fact, he's been to 40 states in the RV he owns.
"We've sure enjoyed it," Williams said.
When he's not traveling, that RV sits beside his home.
But he says there's that group of people in town who don't equally enjoy RVs parked outside in the quirky front yards that dot his neighborhood.
"We have people from other areas (of town) trying to tell us how we can park our vehicles," Williams said.
Some of those people created a petition last year after hearing from numerous friends and homeowners that the city had developed a reputation for being "dumpy."
One of the leaders of the petition (who declined our request for an on-camera interview) says the goal was to push for improvements that would beautify the community and make it safer. The hope was to help maintain, if not improve, property values through those efforts.
Last week, the city council approved a series of updates to the city's rules and regulations.
City leaders directed us to Community Development Director, Warren Utrecht, who declined our request Monday for an on-camera interview.
"I think the ordinance changes make no sense," Valley Center RV owner Sherri Patterson said.
RV owners say it's no right to have another restriction on their personal property.
"I believe it's your yard," Valley Center RV owner Carolyn Papps said. "I believe in keeping it nice but it doesn't need to look all 'rich-ified.'"
The rules do feature a compromise for RV owners who are not in compliance. They allow for people to apply for a certificate, in essence an exemption, if they have no alternative and can't park their vehicles on the side or in the back.
"We had the opportunity to speak (at city meetings) and I do think some of them were listening," Patterson said.
But people like Roger Williams, who has lived in his Valley Center home for more than 40 years, say the changes still aren't welcomed.
"If they want to live in a neighborhood without RV's, where they aren't parked out front, that's fine," Williams said. "But that's not the neighborhood I'd like to live in."