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Mount Pleasant Trailer Ordinance Change

Jeff Loken poses by his trailer at his home in Mount Pleasant in 2015.  The Village of Mount Pleasant recently approved a change in its ordinance regarding large vehicles or trailers parked in driveways. 

MOUNT PLEASANT — Some small changes to a Mount Pleasant village ordinance could make a difference for residents looking for a place to park their larger recreational vehicles.

For years, residents have been complaining about not being able to park a trailer, camper or RV in their driveway. Some residents felt compelled to file a complaint about other residents’ vehicles parking on the street, as for a long time language in the ordinances didn’t specifically ban people from doing that.

There now seems to be some help on the horizon.

On Oct. 22, the Village Board voted 6-1 in favor of changing the village “trailer” ordinance allowing for vehicles between 22 and 40 feet of length to be parked in driveways from May 1 until Sept. 30. During the days when those vehicles are not allowed in a driveway, they must be parked in a garage, backyard, side yard or a storage facility.

The ordinance also allows for Mount Pleasant police officers to ticket vehicles found in violation of night parking. 

Vehicles over 14,000 pounds are not allowed on a residential property. 

Robin Palm, a village planner, said that in 2016 the Plan Commission and Village Board “hotly debated the topic and the consensus among the board members was not to change the ordinance.”

However, Palm said the previous code had issues from an enforcement perspective.

“This basically covers a lot of the problems I have stated about the enforcement of this ordinance,” Palm said. “The public input hasn’t been as fierce as it was back in 2016, but a lot more people seem to agree with the spirit of the code here that there’s some allowances and some tightening.”

‘Change the landscape’

While most Village Board members applauded the work done by village staff to find a workable solution, Trustee Gary Feest, who voted against the change, is cautious about what it could mean for the future.

“It’s going to change the landscape of the village’s face from the street point of view,” Feest said. “People are now going to feel like they’re in campgrounds because now that it’s legal to park in the front driveway, they’re going to.”

Although he admits the new ordinance is better the previous one, Feest said he worries about the complaint system and possible repercussions against village residents, calling it “a reality in today’s world.”

“A lot of this is still complaint-driven and it’s almost impossible for a resident to file a complaint because of the repercussion factor,” Feest said. “It shouldn’t be a complaint system, it should be ‘you follow the ordinance or you’re ticketed’ type thing.”

Feest also is concerned about large vehicles forcing other cars that would normally be parked in a driveway to now park on the street.

But “time will tell,” Feest said, as to what the impact on the village the ordinance will have.

Palm said the village did not have the manpower to enforce the previous ordinance and that this change will help in the future.

“This ordinance does put some of the enforcement on the Mount Pleasant Police Department,” Palm said, adding any on-street night parking would be ticketed. “No ordinance is perfect, but we feel that this is much better than what we have now and, ultimately, it’s way more enforceable.”

Trustee John Hewitt reminded those at the meeting that any “covenants” that condominiums or residential neighborhoods had regarding large vehicles prior to the ordinance changes will take precedence over the new ordinance.

“No ordinance is perfect, but we feel that this is much better than what we have now and ultimately its way more enforceable.” Robin Palm, Mount Pleasant village planner

In a story on the new Mount Pleasant village ordinance regarding large vehicles a few details need to be clarified. Vehicles can be stored in a side yard. Mount Pleasant police will only be ticketing on-street night parking. And the village has no authority regarding covenants and agreements with any Home Owners Association.

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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