Elgin residents want city to OK recreational vehicles on property

  • Cheryl and Jeff Jacob are trying to persuade the city of Elgin to change its municipal code to allow recreational vehicles on private property.

    Cheryl and Jeff Jacob are trying to persuade the city of Elgin to change its municipal code to allow recreational vehicles on private property. Elena Ferrarin | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/21/2015 4:56 PM

An Elgin resident started an online petition and plans to speak to the city council about allowing recreational vehicles such as motor homes and travel trailers on private property.

Cheryl Jacob said she and her husband, Jeff Jacob, have been keeping their 27-foot travel trailer parked in the driveway of their east-side home during camping season from April to October. During the winter, they store it at a campground in Volo.

 

But on Saturday, Jacob said, a code enforcement officer told the couple they had 30 days to move the trailer.

"We've been calling all weekend to find a place (to store it)," she said. "Some of them are already booked and there is no room. Some of them, the city doesn't allow it (storing trailers), and some are too expensive."

Saturday is also when Jacob started the petition at change.org asking the city to change its municipal code, which classifies motor homes and travel trailers as commercial vehicles. "It's not a commercial vehicle. It's my private property," she said.

"Recreational vehicles are not commercial vehicles," she added. "They do not generate income."

The petition had more than 70 supporters as of Monday afternoon, and several others had signed it in person, Jacob said. The city should facilitate, not hinder, activities like camping, she said.

"Camping is a family-oriented type of activity," she said. "We're willing to buy a vehicle sticker so we can generate funds for the city, so it could be put toward the community. We're trying to be reasonable as far as trying to be good citizens."

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The Jacobs had one prior contact with the city's code department in September 2012, when they were also given a 30-day notice to remove the trailer from their property, Community Development Director Marc Mylott said.

Mylott said he's sympathetic to the Jacobs' plight because he, too, owns a recreational vehicle that he stores outside Elgin.

However, such vehicles -- which can reach the height of a one-story home -- have no place on private property in an urban setting, he said. "These types of vehicles could be construed by their neighbors to be quite intrusive," he said.

The city's code department dealt with about 150 cases of recreational vehicles on private property in 2014, out of about 9,600 cases overall. The city issues 30-day compliance notices before citations, Mylott said. "We give people every chance to comply," he said.

Also, residents who want to park their recreational vehicles on their properties overnight to pack for camping trips can do so if they inform the city ahead of time, he said.

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