A recently completed survey of recreational vehicles in Mountlake Terrace shows that more than one-third are in “un-kept” condition, a number that may lead to changes in how city officials regulate such vehicles.
Using GPS technology and on-site field observations, and with assistance from the city’s Public Work Department, the Mountlake Terrace Police Department compiled data on the 888 privately-owned motorhomes, boats, campers, canopies and trailers in Mountlake Terrace. The survey took three weeks to complete; results of the survey were reported to the City Council last week.
The survey also compared Mountlake Terrace’s current regulations concerning RVs with those in neighboring cities.
“The city’s trying to bring economic development to the city, and what does it look like when you see an ugly RV across the street — is that going to bring in a development into the city if we don’t have rules and regulations that guide that,” said Police Chief Greg Wilson. The survey was conducted to provide information to city officials in case further study on RV code modification or enforcement is pursued, Wilson said.
Results of the survey showed 300 of the 888 RVs (34 percent) in the city are in “un-kept” condition, with another 19 (2 percent) in unknown condition due to an inability to see them from the street. Only 154 RVs (17 percent) earned a “well-kept” designation in the survey; 414 RVs (47 percent) were designated as being in “kept” condition.
While current code calls for RVs in the city to be in “well-kept” condition, no specific definition of what that means is included in the regulations. For the survey, a “well-kept” RV was defined as one parked on an improved or maintained surface and with a proper-fitting tarp over it. A “kept” RV was defined as one that wasn’t in either extraordinary or horrible condition; “un-kept” RVs were ones observed in disrepair, covered in moss or mold, or blocked from view by vegetation.
City code does require RVs, if stored with any portion on property in front of the main residence, to be parked on “improved” (blacktop, concrete) or “maintained” (well-groomed gravel) surfaces, a requirement that 44 percent of RV owners may not meet, according to the survey results. A total of 394 of the 888 RVs were found on unimproved surfaces. Survey results show 354 (40 percent) were found on “improved” surfaces and 95 (11 percent) were observed on “maintained” surfaces. There were 45 RVs (5 percent) parked on surfaces that were unobservable from the street.
One city code that was overwhelmingly met by Mountlake Terrace residents was the requirement to have no more than two RVs on a property; 588 properties were observed with one RV parked on them, while 104 were found with two RVs. There were 26 properties observed with three RVs, one property with four RVs, and two properties with five RVs.
Some city council members have indicated initial support for examining the prohibition of parking RVs on the street in front of the property owner’s residence between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. Mayor Jerry Smith said that RV owners returning from vacation, wanting to unload the vehicle and then staying lawful by removing the RV from the street before midnight are faced with a difficult inconvenience.
“That means you have to come in between 6 in the morning and 8 at night, and unload,” he said. “You can’t come home at midnight or 1 a.m.”
You can view the entire Mountlake Terrace Recreational Vehicle Survey 2013 presentation here.