Politics & Government

University Place OKs RV parking expansion during US Open

They said “no” to letting people set up food trucks and sell parking spaces on their lawns and driveways.

But University Place City Council members this week finally said “yes” to letting property owners park multiple recreational vehicles on their land during the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay next month.

The council voted 6-1 Monday to allow six RVs per acre of residential property, up to a maximum of 10 vehicles per parcel, during the June 15-21 golf championship.

No generators will be allowed; to keep noise at a minimum, property owners will have to run electricity from a permanent residence or utility hookup.

Violators are subject to a $250 fine.

University Place leaders and staff hashed over the details of the proposed temporary RV rules for several weeks before reaching what City Attorney Steve Victor called a compromise.

The other options on the table were sticking to the city’s normal limit of one RV per residence or allowing unlimited RV parking.

The city will allow RV stays of up to 10 days without a permit during the tournament — double the time limit under normal circumstances.

Councilman Steve Worthington said the temporary rules will give residents “a little more flexibility.”

It means they not only can let friends and relatives stay on their land during the U.S. Open; they also can rent out RVs to paying guests.

The city doesn’t expect to collect taxes or fees from those transactions.

“It isn’t practical to police this,” Victor said. “People will do what they want, and we expect everyone to do their best.”

The only opposing vote was cast by Councilwoman Caroline Belleci. Her main concern is a handful of large vacant properties where absentee landlords could set up multiple RVs but wouldn’t be on site to ensure tenants aren’t noisy or unruly.

“I realize is it’s just a short period of time, but the whole idea of the regulations we adopted is to minimize impacts on homeowners close to the golf course,” Belleci told The News Tribune on Thursday. “Allowing multiple RVs on properties to me is the same infringement as allowing parking in people’s front yards.”

The council voted seven weeks earlier to prohibit food vendors and other merchants from setting up in neighborhoods, and to ban residents from charging guests to park cars on their property. One city official said UP wanted to avoid a “Puyallup Fair-type” situation.

Also in March, the council adopted street parking and access restrictions affecting some 4,600 homes near Chambers Bay.

The RV rules were not so easily resolved. They were brought before the council on four separate occasions.

“What I’ve learned about politics is the art of compromise. Nobody gets exactly what you want,” Councilman Kent Keel said. “I think this is a great example of that.”