RV owners packed last week’s Goleta Planning Commission meeting to protest a proposed ordinance that would have banned them from parking their expansive land craft in their front yards. The ordinance, aesthetically inspired, would have required RV owners to park their vehicles in side yards and backyards but not anywhere visible from the street. The Planning Commission took no action but instructed staff to revise the ordinance with the public comments in mind.
Goleta spokesperson Valerie Kushnerov explained that the proposed ban emerged out of stakeholder meetings conducted two years ago by a private consultant hired to help the City of Goleta craft its own zoning ordinance. Goleta has been using the zoning ordinance it inherited from the County of Santa Barbara since its incorporation in 2002. The consultants, said Kushnerov, picked up on the anti-RV sentiment in some of the stakeholder meetings. That concern, she stated, was largely addressed when the Goleta City Council passed an ordinance last year requiring special permits for any RVs parked on city streets. Those permits are free of charge, but without them, streets are off-limits for any RV. The proposed ordinance was also the hot topic at a community workshop held this past weekend to discuss the new zoning ordinance.
The issue of RVs has a history of exciting Goleta’s funny bone. When a small community church sought permission to allow a very limited number of RVs and homeless people in cars to park overnight in its lot, the matter went twice to the City Council, first for approval and then on appeal. The council ultimately voted in favor of the RV parking plan but only on the condition that the program organizers conduct background checks on the individuals parking.