You Asked. We Answered.
At the Inquiry Answer Service, we answer, on average, more than 300 questions for our subscribers each month. We consult a variety of sources to create a custom research packet — which may include APA publications, sample ordinances and plans, articles and literature from partner organizations, and the most current information available online — for each question.
Each month, we choose one question to feature here, so you can see what your peers around the country are asking and how we answered. When your organization subscribes to PAS, you and your colleagues will also have access to previous editions.
How do communities regulate occupancy of travel trailers and RVs?
We'd be interested in knowing how other jurisdictions regulate permanent living in travel trailers and RVs, whether within or outside of RV parks, or allow for their temporary occupancy for short-term or limited use.
Most communities explicitly prohibit the permanent occupancy of travel trailers or recreational vehicles by stating in their codes that these types of vehicles are not to be used as permanent residences. In addition, communities often establish limitations on duration of stay within RV parks to prevent these sites from becoming places of permanent occupancy. A related requirement in some cases is for RV park owners to keep a registry of occupancy and allow for inspections to assure compliance with regulations. Local codes also often address duration of use of RVs outside of designated RV parks, whether as a temporary residence in certain circumstances or when parked at a residence.
Reasons for prohibiting or restricting the residential use of RVs include health and sanitation concerns. As RVs are not usually designed to connect to standard sewer or septic systems but rather store waste to be pumped out at special stations on a regular basis, when they are occupied the dumping of waste can be a problem. Some communities also cite aesthetics and community compatibility.
While prohibiting the use of trailers or RVs as permanent residences and limiting duration of stay in RV parks or campgrounds, many communities do provide for temporary use of these vehicles in certain designated circumstances, typically subject to permit requirements and time limits. Examples include use of trailers as temporary residences onsite during the construction of a dwelling or other building, as housing for caretakers of the ill or elderly, as emergency shelter, or as very short-term housing for guests. Finally, some rural communities do allow permanent residency within RVs, either within RV parks or in certain contexts, but usually in compliance with standards to assure public health and safety.
- Blais, Peter, 2002. "On the Road Again." Planning, December. www.planning.org/planning/2002/dec/rv.htm
- Alachua (Florida), County of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Part III, Unified Land Development Code; Title 40, Land Development Regulations; Chapter 403, Zoning Districts; Article VI, Special Purpose Districts; Section 403.23, Travel Recreational Vehicle Park and Campgrounds (RM-1) District; part i(1), Prohibited Uses – Permanent Residence. www.municode.com/library/fl/alachua_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIIIUNLADECO_TIT40LADERE_CH403ZODI_ARTVISPPUDI
- Bartow (Georgia), County of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Appendix A, Zoning; Article VI, Regulations of Property; Section 6.5, Residential Living Only Permitted in Permanent Structures. Section 6.6, Occupancy of Recreational Vehicles. Appendix B, Development Standards; Article IIII, Campground Standards; Section 3.1, Campgrounds in General. www.municode.com/library/GA/bartow_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=APXAZO_ARTVIREPR_S6.5RELIONPEPEST
- Berkeley (South Carolina), County of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Appendix A, Zoning; Article 2, Definitions; Section 2.3.92, Recreational Vehicle. www.municode.com/library/sc/berkeley_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_APXAZO_ART2DE_2.3DE
- Bishop (California), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Title 8, Health and Safety; Chapter 8.20, Trailers and Trailer Parks; Article II, Location of Trailers; Section 8.20.050, Permit – Temporary. www.municode.com/library/CA/bishop/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT8HESA_CH8.20TRTRPA_ARTIILOTR_8.20.050PEEM
- Coconino (Arizona), County of. 2013. Zoning Ordinance. Section 18, General, Agricultural Residential and Rural Residential Zones; Section 18.3, Property Development Standards: G, AR, and RR Zones; Part A, Special Requirements. www.coconino.az.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4608
- Franklin (Washington), County of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Title 17, Zoning; Chapter 17.66, Use Regulations; Section 17.66.250, Temporary Use of a Trailer (Travel Trailer, RV, Fifth Wheel, Etc.). www.municode.com/library/WA/franklin_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT17ZO_CH17.66USRE_17.66.250TEUSTRTRTRRVFIWHET
- Habersham (Georgia), County of. 2014. Code of Ordinances. Appendix A, Comprehensive Land Development Resolution; Article XIII, Regulations For Mobile Home/Manufactured Homes, Mobile Home/Manufactured Home Parks, And Recreational Vehicle Parks; Section 1312, Permanent Occupancy Of Recreational Vehicles Prohibited. www.municode.com/library/GA/habersham_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_APXACOLADERE_ARTXIIIREMOHOMAHOMOHOMAHOPAREVEPA
- Kern (California), County of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Title 19, Zoning; Chapter 19.08, Interpretation and General Standards; Section 19.08.380, Temporary Occupancy of Recreational Vehicles. www.municode.com/library/CA/kern_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT19ZO_CH19.08INGEST_19.08.380TEOCREVE
- Larimer (Colorado), County of. 2015. Land Use Code. Part 18, Manufactured Homes, Manufactured Home Parks, Recreational Vehicle Parks and Campgrounds; Section 18.3, Recreational Vehicle Parks; part 18.3.4, Recreational Vehicles in Recreational Vehicle Parks. Section 18.3.5, Recreational Vehicles Outside County-Approved Recreational Vehicle Parks and Campgrounds. www.municode.com/library/co/larimer_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIILAUSCO_18.0MAHOMAHOPAREVEPACA
- Mendocino (California), County of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Title 20, Zoning Ordinance; Division I, Chapter 20.168, Temporary Use Regulations; Section 10.168.040, Use of a Trailer Coach. www.municode.com/library/CA/mendocino_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=MECOCO_TIT20ZOOR_DIVIMECOZOCO_CH20.168TEUSRE
- Mount Jackson (Virginia), Town of. 2013. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 66, Zoning; Article XIV, Supplementary Regulations; Section 66-442, Temporary Trailers. www.municode.com/library/VA/mount_jackson/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICO_CH66ZO_ARTXIVSURE_S66-442TETR
- Red Bank (Tennessee), City of. 2015. Municipal Code. Title 12, Building, Utility, Etc. Codes; Chapter 12, Trailers and Mobile Homes; Section 12-1202, Location Outside of Trailer Park or Mobile Home Park. Section 12-1209, Restrictions on Occupancy. www.mtas.tennessee.edu/public/municodesweb.nsf
- Riverside (California), County of. 2015. Zoning Ordinance. Article XIXd, Recreational Vehicle Parks; Section 19.97, Development Standards For All Recreational Vehicle Parks; part A, Park Site and Standards; part 2, General Land Use Plan Categories. Section 19.98b, Development Standards for Permanent Occupancy Parks. http://planning.rctlma.org/Portals/0/zoning/ordnance/Ord_348_clean_version.pdf .
- Texarkana (Arkansas), City of. 2015. Municipal Code. Chapter 28, Zoning; Article VI, Supplementary Provisions; Section 28-75, Temporary Secondary Dwelling Units. www.municode.com/library/ar/texarkana/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_CH28ZO_ARTVISUPR_S28-75TESEDWUN
- Winter Garden (Florida), City of. 2015. Code of Ordinances. Chapter 118, Zoning; Article VI, Supplementary District Regulations; Division 6, Recreational Vehicle Parks; Section 118-1264(15), Standards – Long Term Recreational Vehicle Lots. www.municode.com/library/fl/winter_garden/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICOOR_CH118ZO_ARTVISUDIRE_DIV6REVEPA_S118-1264ST