Summit County Councilors Confident New Regulations on RV Sites Are Necessary
Summit County Councilors say that they will resume deliberation on a proposed ordinance governing campgrounds and seasonal RV use at their June 30 meeting.
A hearing on May 26 brought out a lot of criticism, but several councilors say they believe that a problem exists and that they have to respond.
Although the problems of trailers and campgrounds have been mentioned in areas like Samak and Weber Canyon, the bulk of comments at the public hearing came from owners in Manorlands, near the Mirror Lake Highway on the north slope of the Uinta Mountains.
County Council Chair Glenn Wright told KPCW News that most of the public comment was in opposition. About a third, he estimated, was for the ordinance or suggested changes to it.
While some of the speakers said they can work with their owners’ association to figure out a solution, Wright said they haven’t done that so far.
“From a legal standpoint, trailers, RVs, are not permanent structures and can only be occupied for, at most, six months on a property,” Wright said. “And essentially that’s what’s happening. But our concerns are overcrowding in some areas, lack of water and sewer in some of the lots. And while some of the opponents of the ordinance said, ‘oh, that’s not happening,’ actually, I think one of the last two people that spoke to us last night was opposed to it, and they had just bought the property, intended to use it as an RV parking place for themselves. And they found they had, the land they bought was covered with blackwater when they arrived, and they had to clean it up.”
After the hearing, councilor Chris Robinson said he’d like to get more information on the neighborhoods near State Route 150 and their associations.
But he said that Manorlands was approved decades ago as a cabin area, not a neighborhood for trailers.
“We approve a residential subdivision, and over time—I’m going to call it trailer creep—over time, it’s become a big deal,” he said. “Maybe there are ways that they can govern themselves. But if we understood what the existing private rules are, i.e. the CCRs, and what the existing documents are, the plats and other things—if there really are HOAs that think they can lead, then maybe there’s a way to have a trial period here, let’s see if they can regulate their affairs on their own. I’m sympathetic that everybody views this as a taking, or something that big, bad old government’s coming in. But it seems like it’s a situation that through neglect has been abused.”
Councilor Doug Clyde said Manorlands has morphed over the years into an area that’s breaking all the rules.
“We have a subdivision here that has allowed its land use to get out of control to the point where we are creating significant health, safety and welfare issues in every aspect that you can think of,” he said. “This project breaks all the rules. And it breaks all the rules of proper land management, proper life safety, proper water quality protection, fire department access. Everything. Absolutely everything.”
However, councilor Roger Armstrong questioned how the council would enforce the regulations.
“I wasn’t saying we shouldn’t regulate,” he said. “I was saying, okay, we’ve passed an ordinance. What happens Tuesday?”
Armstrong told Clyde that they’re seeing possible problems or actual problems in areas closer to Summit County’s population centers such as Old Ranch Road or Silver Creek.
Clyde said he’s fairly confident the new ordinance is the right course of action.