By Russ and Tiña De Maris
A new ordinance affecting RV parking in Lonsdale, Minnesota, was designed to clear up parking issues – but a reading of the language may lead some to believe the city is doing an exercise in classic bureaucratic doublespeak. It took city leaders a mere 22 pages to codify their new regulations.
First, you need to know what kind of vehicle you have. According to the local paper, they are: “standard, recreational (major, minor and seasonal), commercial (major and minor), utility trailers and seasonal. Are you with me so far? Hope so, because what might be “seasonal” to you is not particularly seasonal to the next guy. Let’s put that aside and move on to the next issue.
Limits: Of course, we all need limits. Here’s how the city defines those limits. “A maximum of four standard vehicles may be parked outside a residence; a maximum of three recreational vehicles may be parked at a residence; one commercial vehicle will count as two standard vehicles; one major recreational vehicle shall be counted as two recreational vehicles; and one recreational vehicle trailer under 24 feet holding any combination of recreational vehicles will be counted as one recreational vehicle.”
Whoa! One “major” recreational vehicle equals two recreational vehicles. This is beginning to sound like an elementary school storybook problem. For the “challenged” among us, that kind of translates like this: “If you have four pencils and I have seven apples, how many pancakes will fit on the roof? Purple, because space aliens don’t wear hats.”
Now let’s get on to that “seasonal” issue: “Seasonal vehicles are those designed for use in either warm or cold weather seasons. Warm weather vehicles will be allowed from April 1 through Oct. 31 in a given year. Cold weather vehicles will be allowed between Nov. 1 and March 31.” No mention here of when “seasonal” vehicles will be allowed. And here’s hoping the city isn’t relying on nosy neighbors to report violations. We all know somebody who’d report an RV in the driveway in September, because, after all, RVs are only used in “warm weather.”
Finally, just where can you park what. It gets back to the definition of your vehicle. “Standard motor vehicles, recreational vehicles and/or commercial vehicles shall be limited to garages, driveways, and other permitted parking areas of residential properties.” Other permitted parking areas? Maybe buried in that 22-page document is that catch-all. Meantime, if you do think you fit the definition, here’s what you’ll need to park it: “All vehicles must be parked on a hard, dust-free surface such as concrete, asphalt, pavers, or on a city-approved decorative rock surface. Decorative rock shall not be used to surface any main driveway areas. All driveways and parking areas must be maintained.”
Keep off the grass, Sam. But from the looks of it, understanding this new ordinance that truly simplifies life for residents of Lonsdale, might be better accomplished if you had been smoking grass.
For more, check out southernminn.com.