By Bryan Boggiano
The city commission acknowledged the commercial and recreational vehicle parking pilot program failed at their Wednesday workshop, where they all expressed interest in discontinuing it.
This comes after city staff recommended ending the program due to elevated violations.
On February 16, 2022, the city commission voted unanimously to start the program to give residents and business owners more freedom and convenience.
Under the program, the city allowed recreational vehicles in residential-zoned areas on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. Between Friday and Sunday, parking is permitted from 9 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m. Sunday. If Monday was a federal holiday, that time is extended until Monday at 9 p.m., and all recreational vehicles must be parked on driveways.
The program expired on August 16. However, the commission can renew or revert to the original code.
Under the old code, recreational vehicles could not be parked on properties or rights-of-way between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Monday through Saturday. They were not allowed on Sundays.
For commercial vehicles, businesses in plazas can park in front of their companies at 9 p.m. or after the last business closes, whichever is earlier. Under the old code, those companies had to wait until 9 p.m. or after the last business closes, whichever is later.
Previous reports to the commission showed a pattern of violations and repeat offenders. In March, the city commission voted 4-1 to extend the program, showing signs of support peeling away.
Vice Mayor Shawn Cerra voted against continuing the program, while the rest of the commission hoped to give violators a chance to clean up their acts. But, they noted failure to follow the rules would change their minds.
Wednesday’s report did not offer any glimmer of hope.
According to a city report, code enforcement and police performed sweeps on November 17, March 2, and March 16. The citywide sweeps, combined, found 270 violations. Forty-three were recreational vehicles, and 227 were commercial.
Code and police also performed three different sweeps.
Between February 7 and February 9, they found 100 total violations—96 between April 10 and April 13 and 108 from June 27 through June 29.
The city sought residential input through a small-scale survey, sending 200 flyers. They received 177 replies.
Overall, the results were mixed. About 50 percent of residents strongly or somewhat supported overnight parking, while 46 percent strongly or somewhat opposed.
The commission, however, 100 percent strongly or somewhat opposed the program. Code Compliance Manager George Sorberon called it a “Pandora’s box.”
Cerra said he hoped the city could do something for people who followed the rules, but he acknowledged the violations only got worse.
“The numbers were nowhere like they were in today’s presentation,” he said.
Commissioners who supported the program and its extension initially said it was not working and noted they never received thanks from residents.
“Overall, [this program] is being abused,” said Commissioner Joy Carter.
The commission will vote on the program’s final fate at an upcoming meeting, where they will likely vote to end it and revert to the old code.
- Bryan has a degree in journalism from the University of Florida and earned his masters in geosciences from Florida International University, where he focused in atmospheric sciences. His interests include weather, entertainment, and municipal government.
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