Kansas approves ordinance changes
KANSAS- The RV amendment to the existing mobile home ordinance in Kansas dominated the conversation at Feb. 7 village board meeting.
Prior to the board’s unanimous vote to adopt the recreational vehicle ordinance, three residents of the small village shared their opinions and asked questions about the ordinance.
Kansas resident Michael Leroy said he strongly opposes the ordinance and regards it as a violation of his personal property rights. He told the board the ordinance directly affects him because he is a RV owner and has a RV parked in front of his local residence.
“It is a useless ordinance. It is invasive. It is intrusive. It is as far as I am concerned, a violation of personal property rights,” Leroy said at the beginning of the meeting.
The amendment states anyone wanting to dwell in a RV on personal property of any Kansas residence must obtain a permit to do so. The permit is for 30 days and two 30 days extensions are available per year.
“If one of my kids wants to come spend six months and I want to put them up in my RV, I don’t see a problem with that. I am not bothering any body. I’m on my own private property with my own personal vehicle,” added Leroy.
“If we don’t have an ordinance similar to this on the books then all of the people who are insisting on breaching similar ordinances in the larger surrounding towns and trying to escape various types of scrutiny will end up here in our small town,” responded village board president Ross Carrell. He added, “I am raising children in this town so I am interested in maintaining a certain level of awareness of who is in town. That’s where I am coming from personally.”
The board members noted the RV amendment was created because it was brought to their attention that several people were residing in camping trailers within the village limits on single residential lots.
“We had two or three people living in campers on a regular basis who were running generators 24/7 within 50 feet of another house,” said board member Steve Hood. “We don’t just write these (ordinances) up. We take them through the legal system and the lawyers make sure it is legal.”
“They didn’t do a very good job on this one,” responded Leroy.
Leroy also asked the board how they were going to enforce the new ordinance and what penalties will be issued. He indicated the RV ordinance is unenforceable.
“All we are asking, and we are not charging a fee, is just let us know (who is staying in the RV)” said Carrell.
The permit obtained by the property owner where the RV is located will allow village officials to know who is residing in the RV.
“We have to be concerned with the safety of our citizens here and now because if we don’t then who is going to? If a resident makes the decision to allow some to stay the night or flop in their RV and that person is possibly a sex offender. Then that offender is not registered and that is breaking the law. How are we supposed to be aware of the fact? And if something bad happens… It is our responsibility. We need to have something on the books for future situations,” said Carrell, adding, “We based this amendment purely off of Paris’ ordinance. Our lawyer has made this completely within the bounds of legality to add this to the mobile home ordinance. We are not putting anyone in jail or impounding the property. We are simply asking for compliance for the safety of our citizens and awareness of who is residing in town.”
It was also noted any RV parked within the city limits in 2015 or before are grandfathered in.
Two additional residents asked about how the permit works, noting their grandfather visits in two-week spans and resides in the camper periodically. The board members reassured the duo it is permissible to have someone staying in the camper periodically.
Kansas Police chief Jeff Goodwin noted Kansas does not have zoning therefore the RV ordinance is important.
“This (the RV ordinance) addresses the issue that we wanted to address. I have never once walked up to a door and handed out a ticket. Voluntary compliance is what we are looking for. We aren’t looking to write people up,” Goodwin said.
Each member of the board again read the amendment and then discussed content of the document in great extent.
Hood moved the amendment, and it was seconded by Ron Baker before the six members present voted yes.
Goodwin reported the police department issued 11 citations, seven warnings and 12 verbal warnings for various causes during January. In addition, the officers made three criminal arrests and dealt with two non-criminal complaints.
The chief also informed the council the village’s Ford Police Interceptor sustained damage Feb. 4 while transporting a juvenile. The repair estimate was just shy of $1,200, and the police department will request the damages be part of the restitution charged to the teen.
Water superintendent Andrew Henn told the board Tonka sent a cellular modem to use in an effort to reprogram the water softener controls. He anticipates working on the issue Feb. 13. The board decided to withhold second payment to Tonka until the problems are remedied.
Henn said water department employees were busy in January because of the cold weather. The employees battled frozen service meters and water lines and fixed three water leaks. “Things are getting back to normal. The water quality is good and the filters are running great,” Henn said at the conclusion of the report.
He also reported the EPA office did not receive the village’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit he sent approximately one year ago even though he had a tracking number which confirmed the application was delivered. He told the board he resubmitted the application. “Soon we will have the permit to get rid of our waste water,” Henn explained.
During the street and alley report, Henn noted employees were busy with the snow removal. He reported the village will once again use crushed limestone during the summer to chip and tar the roadways.