ESCANABA - Escanaba officials and residents concerned about the pros and cons of parking campers and trailers in the city will discuss the issue during a committee meeting at 6 p.m. today at city hall. The public is invited.
According to City Manager Jim O'Toole, "The city has been in the process of reviewing and updating ordinances so that they are reflective and in compliance with state law and community needs over the last few years."
This past summer, local officials increased enforcement of trailers and campers parked within the city, contacting 39 owners. Warnings were issued as a result of public complaints and also to remind residents of the city's ordinance and zoning codes for parking trailers in the city.
Parking of campers on city streets in Escanaba overnight is restricted. The city's zoning code limits trailer parking to the rear and side yard of a property. (See related story for details.)
The purpose of the ordinance, regarding campers parked within city limits, is to preserve the peace, health and safety of the city's residents and the surrounding community.
Campers and enclosed trailers parked along city streets and in boulevards can hamper motorists' safety, including decreasing sight and road space, noted O'Toole.
"Over the summer, the city did receive a few complaints about trailers being parked in front of neighbors' homes, too close to intersections, and trailers being used for semi-permanent housing," said O'Toole.
This summer's stepped-up enforcement made people more aware of the problems and impacts on their neighbors, he added. The warnings also created concerns from some trailer and camper owners, he said.
"The biggest concerns I have heard about our existing ordinance is people think the requirements are outdated and do not meet the needs of the people in today's world. I am also hearing people are concerned about their ability to use the public space to park their camper in front of their homes for loading, unloading and cleaning purposes," said O'Toole.
These concerns and others will be discussed at tonight's committee meeting.
The committee is made up of citizens, council members and city administrators. The public is invited to attend the session and offer input.
The committee will also look at "best practices" being used in other communities to determine if any can be used in Escanaba, O'Toole added.