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Old 07-12-2016, 12:40 PM   #1
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Is a driveway a "setback"?

We recently inherited a Motorhome after a family member passed away. Since it was unexpected, we have been trying to do insurance & registration & find a storage place for it. I looked up our city code & couldn't find anything saying we couldn't park in our driveway. We don't block any sidewalks or anything like that. And we don't have any CC&R's or an HOA in our neighborhood.

After a few trips in it, we had an issue with the dreaded auto-park brake getting stuck on. It's been complicated to remedy but we are trying. We have one neighbor harassing us almost since day 1 who told us she would do whatever she has to do to "get that ugly piece of [Moderator Edit]" out of this neighborhood." We have told her over & over we don't plan to keep it here, & we're trying to get it unstuck so we can use it AND store it elsewhere.

Low & behold we received a citation the other day. I feel AWFUL because I know it was her reporting US, but our entire neighborhood was affected, with many people getting tickets, most of whom have lived here 30+ years without incident.

The Motorhome has an appt with an electrician in 2 days but until then it's had to be here. We and many of our neighbors are meeting with the code enforcement officer tomorrow & the neighborhood is circulating a petition. It's become this huge ordeal in less than 3 weeks of us having this vehicle here. I'm so embarrassed & frustrated.

The part I don't understand is that I looked up the code we were cited for violating, and it says:
"Parking in setbacks is prohibited. Cease and desist parking any type of automobile, recreational vehicle or trailer on any portion of a required yard area; or, within a required front, back or side-yard setback; or, on any unimproved parking surface."

But we are parked on our own paved driveway which extends from our two-car attached garage. So, does setback mean driveway? And if so, you can't even park an automobile on it? Anyone have any knowledge of what I'm misunderstanding about it?
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:45 PM   #2
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ROW probably extends 25-30 feet from the centerline of the road. Depends on city, county at time neighborhood was devrloped. One trick is to look at power poles, phone or cable jjnction boxes, in ground transformers, etc....they will all be in the public ROW unless on an easement. If you are closer to the street than any of that stuff, you are outside your setbacks.
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Old 07-12-2016, 12:49 PM   #3
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"...or, within a required front, back or side-yard setback"

this is read to mean the area between your Home and the street(your front yard basically)
(setback is typically the area considered to be the 'side of your house' or 'your back yard' type areas that are not blocking the view from other homes and don't rest 'in front of' your home...)
most cities that have this ordinance is to maintain a clear unobstructed yardage throughout neighborhoods so that folks don't park rvs, boats, etc in front of homes for everyone to have to 'view'...

You could probably park it in your backyard for sure, but also in your sideyard should the front of the RV not protrude beyond the corner of the home... but the city should confirm that.

your situation is obviously a temporary one, and I'm sure that most would understand, though some might also assume that it may stay parked there for the long term and might also be understandably aggravated...
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Old 07-12-2016, 01:17 PM   #4
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Okay gotcha. Thanks for the insight! So does that mean it can never be parked here? Even the storage facilities we've visited have said that we can't do any work to the rv on their premises. So if we want to install new TVs or hang new curtains, or pack for a trip, where do we go?
I'm attaching a pic of how we're temporarily parked.
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Old 07-12-2016, 01:54 PM   #5
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The best answer would come from your town zoning office. Rules are different everywhere and I certainly wouldn't rely on these forums to give you a legal answer. Good luck!
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Old 07-12-2016, 01:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CampinGirl View Post
...We and many of our neighbors are meeting with the code enforcement officer tomorrow...
Quote:
Originally Posted by CampinGirl View Post
...So does that mean it can never be parked here? Even the storage facilities we've visited have said that we can't do any work to the rv on their premises. So if we want to install new TVs or hang new curtains, or pack for a trip, where do we go?
The code enforcement officer should be able to answer all your questions. I know in some localities a rig can be parked at the house for something like 48 hours before or after a trip but then must be gone. Your locality may be different. As an aside, most codes folks work Mon-Fri. There'll be no one for your neighbor to complain to between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.
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Old 07-12-2016, 02:10 PM   #7
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There'll be no one for your neighbor to complain to between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.
Noted!
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Old 07-12-2016, 03:01 PM   #8
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Okay gotcha. Thanks for the insight! So does that mean it can never be parked here? Even the storage facilities we've visited have said that we can't do any work to the rv on their premises. So if we want to install new TVs or hang new curtains, or pack for a trip, where do we go?
I'm attaching a pic of how we're temporarily parked.
That is probably in the setback from the street. Some cities say an RV can't be parked any closer to the street than the front of the house.

We have a 50' setback, but it starts 25' feet from the center line of the road which comprises the "right of way" on my side of the street. When we built the house the builder sited it about 75' from the road when I thought we only had a the 50' setback. That's when I learned about the issue. Turns out all the other houses that came along after ours were sited the same distance from the road.
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Old 07-12-2016, 03:54 PM   #9
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Setback has many meanings as does easement.

Easement is usually the area of property considered yours but is free game for utilities and other such things.

Setback in one term is the distance between edge of property and an imaginary line X feet from the center of the roadway.

In our case when we built our shop, setback was a 1 X 1 ratio to alow building height.

We could not have any structure footing closer than 10 ft to the property line ( setback 10 feet) then at that point limited to 15 foot tall and must setback another 1 foot for every 1 foot in height at peak.

Side note is that parking and storage are much different.

If it can move on its own power and it does more than certian amount per week it is parked.

If it is broken and cannot move then it is stored.

BIG HINT !!! PAY AN NEXT I ON TO THIS...

Many cities have general linked to federal guidelines types of rules that they govern by.

We once had one of "those guys" in the neighborhood but the area was rundown poor side of town but that is another story...We got cited for swapping a door on a van in the driveway.

It seems the federal guidelines restrict any automotive work of any kind in view from the street.

Meaning if the hood pops up to check oil or air hose comes out to fill tire and it can be seen from the street it is considered a violation.

So...Do NOT tell the inspector that it cannot be moved because it is broken.

That makes it stored and being worked on in public and it may force you to tow it.

State you are waiting for training or insurance questions or fixing something inside that has nothing to do with being road worthy and make sure spouse or oldest child that can drive is gone with the keys....
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Old 07-12-2016, 06:10 PM   #10
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I can't believe the bull people have to put up with in
Other states . That's why I moved out Of Massachusetts . To many liberals . Can't do this. can't do that . I own my house . I should be able to park what ever I want in my driveway .
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:01 PM   #11
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If you live in a rural area, mostly you can do what you want with your property, but within the confines of a city or town, your neighbors have some say as well. You would probably agree that your neighbors should not be permitted an eyesore in their front yard, but one person's art work may be another's eyesore.

Sadly, over time, well-intended regulations (zoning) accumulate until there is almost always some regulation that could be applied against you by an irate neighbor. And once the zoning enforcement people get called in, they have little choice but to uphold the letter of the law.
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Old 07-12-2016, 08:17 PM   #12
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Your neighbor should get a ticket

Ignoring the actual definition of "Setback", the violation applies to all vehicles.
The picture you posted of your driveway is probably like all of the driveways on your street and it looks like they are located in the setback area. This likely includes your neighbor. So you can report your neighbor for this violation

UNLESS the violation is related to the setback from the front property line.
The driveway obviously needs to run from the street up to your garage.
But the setback still applies. So maybe the tail of your coach is in the setback area.

The city would not allow you to build a structure 1 inch away from any property line...that is why they create setbacks.

This whole thing does not sound correct....the building plans would never have been approved when the house was built if all the driveways were in the setback area. It is possible the rule was created AFTER your house was built, so the old rule should be grandfathered in.
So the key is to ask which setback your violating...from the front or side property line.

Why can't all the bone head neighbors live in one place so the rest of us can be happy...

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Old 07-12-2016, 08:46 PM   #13
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Based on your picture you might be pretty close to the utility right of way according to the electrical vault. At least in the new subdivisions I've been involved in (Western WA) the back of the electrical utility vault nestles close to, but not right at, the back edge of utility right of way. Setback is a whole different critter that the code enforcement folks should be able to explain.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:06 PM   #14
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I have a Townhouse with a HOA, they say I can park an RV in the driveway for 48 hours if it doesn't block the sidewalk. The City says I can park a licensed RV on the street for 72. The HOA is upset with a neighbor because he parks his on the street almost everyday, he drives it to work and back, the City say that is fine!
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