The proposed zoning ordinance developed by the Pacific County Planning Commission takes away RVer property and boater parking rights that have been enjoyed for many years. After Sept. 30, 2005, it drastically changes the use of RVs on private property by kicking out all the RVs and boats from R-1 zoned property, which includes most of the property on the Long Beach Peninsula near the ocean and the bay.
The county defines RVs to include boats and boat trailers. How would you like it if some unelected but anointed citizens and a local special interest group proposed taking away your property and parking rights based on their personal agendas and then kicked your RV and boat off your recreational property you have used for years but still let you "enjoy" paying the property taxes?
In my opinion, the proposed zoning ordinance implicitly assumes that all RVers are irresponsible slobs who can't be trusted. For example, according to the planning commission, RVers are apparently second class citizens because:
Their friends are not allowed to stay on the owner's property in the friend's RV. They can't park a RV or car in the county right-of-way if they are using a RV parked on their property.
They can't park their occupied RV in their driveway if it does not meet the setback requirements.
They can only have one additional RV or boat on their lot (unless there is a house on the property) but only if it belongs to an immediate family member.
They can only use their RVs on their private property during the summer months and only for an extremely limited time in the fall, winter and spring months until they are completely kicked out of the R-1 zoned areas after Sept. 30, 2005.
The proposed ordinance even requires that all fully self contained RVs be connected to a sewage system and water (even if only staying for a few days) because apparently all RVers don't take baths and can't be trusted, are irresponsible, and are just itching for chance to dump their holding tanks irresponsibly. Never mind that RVers have friends too. Never mind that parking off the road in a county right of way is legal. Never mind that some people have to work during the summer and enjoy using their property during the off season. Never mind that many RVs represent a substantial investment, are well maintained and are owned by successful, upstanding and responsible people respected in their own communities. Need I go on?
The detailed zoning maps have only been available since January/February, although I'm told that if you knew to ask that information has been available from the County. Even knowledgeable, interested people who have attended most of the planning commission meetings did not know until very recently what detailed zoning was being proposed for their area. There has not been sufficient time for public review and comment of the proposed Land Use zoning maps especially in view of the drastic changes impacting RVs. Adequate time should be allowed for public review and comment before the zoning maps are finalized.
I have RVed on the Peninsula for over 25 years. The primary reason many others and I bought recreational property on the Long Beach Peninsula is for RVing. And according to the laws of supply and demand, when RVers buy property they help support property values plus pay their share of property taxes.
Some of the people who are now anti-RV chose to buy land and build when it was clearly evident that RVs were being used on private property when they made their decisions. Who was here first? How many people do you see standing in line to buy property and build houses on the Peninsula? You certainly do not see a stampede. While at the beach, our RV friends and we support the local merchants and the festivals. Why does the planning commission want to turn away our business especially during the slow season and then kick us out? Could the answer be snob hill? You decide.
What is the rationale for kicking RVers and boats out you might ask? From my observations at different planning commission meetings, it appears to be action by emotion (fear), innuendo, personal agendas (vendettas) and, oh yes, power-trip egos. Some members of the planning commission have demonstrated a definite negative bias against RVs. In fact, some of the planning commission members have referred to RVs as "rusting hulks" and fear all RVers are just waiting for the chance to dump their waste tanks improperly.
Unfortunately, it is true that there is an irresponsible minority among the general population who choose to break the law, but that has nothing to do with whether they are a homeowner or an RVer, which seems to be a fact that some planning commission members have difficulty understanding. Sadly, one planning commissioner even told me that the answer to problems with enforcing the law is to create more laws!
Who represents the absentee property owners in this re-zoning process? It certainly is not evident to me and it certainly is not the planning commission as a body. I call on the planning commissioners to rise to the occasion, put their personal biases aside, and represent all of the property owners in Pacific County to propose zoning for the overall public good with clear defensible logic based on fact. I assume that this re-zoning process meets the letter of the law, but with so many absentee property owners completely unaware of the drastic impact on them from major changes made in December and January, I seriously question if it meets the intent of the law. I strongly recommend that the planning commissioners and the county go the extra mile to ensure that all property owners are aware of the proposed zoning changes and the impact on them and once aware have time to provide their input. Wouldn't you call that fair? Wouldn't you want that?
In addition, there appears to be a small but vocal organized group who disagrees with the 1994 Surfside decision to allow RVs north of Oysterville Road. They do not want to look out their windows and see RVs. They want to let someone else pay the property taxes but not let the owners use their property for RVing, so this small vocal group doesn't have to look at RVs and (heaven forbid) people lawfully enjoying a campfire. Yes, some of these people are the same ones who alleged to the planning commission (complete with photos no less) that septic perk test holes are really dug so that RVers can dump their sewage into them and that RVers somehow have more outdoor burning rights than homeowners!
I would certainly prefer zoning by facts based on objective, defensible logic. For example, Pacific County and especially the Peninsula is a recreational paradise. It is not a Seattle or a Portland but is a crown jewel for recreation and should be zoned accordingly. The full-time population and development density is low and there are numerous vacant lots. RVing is certainly a well-established historical use. Development density is certainly not the problem. Could it be that some (elite?) citizens want to enjoy their property at the expense of others by having the others denied their long-standing right to use their private recreational property? Our several friends and acquaintances living full time on the Peninsula look forward to our visits (in our RV) and we mutually enjoy each other's company.
This is not just a RV or boat issue. This is a basic fairness issue. As a result of this unfair and biased treatment of RVs, it is past time that Pacific County RVers and supporters get some degree of organization. If you are willing to support the right of RVers, boaters, friends and neighbors to continue enjoying their property rights, tell the planning commission in writing or in person at the upcoming hearings and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, if you have an RV or boat, and the general location of your property (e.g. Klipsan, Surfside, etc) to receive periodic information relevant to this basic fairness issue.
RVer and Pacific County property owner/taxpayer