Thursday, Jan 18, 2018
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Sylvania changes setbacks, length in RV storage law

After months of debate and review, Sylvania City Council reinstated a size limit and changed setbacks in the ordinance that regulates the storage of boats and recreational vehicles at homes.

Council unanimously approved a revised set of rules and guidelines to ensure neighbors who have boats, RVs, recreational equipment, tent trailers, and campers do not obstruct the views or infringe on the property rights of their neighbors. Councilman Todd Milner was absent. The issue was spurred by complaints received this year.

The vote came after a public hearing Monday night, at which no one voiced opposition or approval of the proposed changes. However, the hearing was a continuation of one in May, where disgruntled residents, dismayed with constantly looking at large or dilapidated vehicles parked in a neighbor's lot, called for a zero-tolerance policy.

Council said that approach was too drastic and instead crafted a revision to the local law to allow homeowners to store RVs on their property, but with restrictions.

The revised ordinance contains 11 rules, some of which include:

  • Only one vehicle is permitted on the property. It can be stored in the rear or side yard. No front yard storage of vehicles is permitted.
  • The vehicle must be stored at least five feet away from any lot line.
  • There is a 20 foot-maximum length of the vehicle. Any RV that exceeds that limit, an additional foot of setback is required for each additional five feet. For example, if an RV or boat is 33 feet in length, it should be stored eight feet from any property line.
  • The vehicle must be stored on a properly maintained hard surface, such as crushed stone, concrete, or asphalt.
  • An RV or boat shall not be covered with any tarp material, unless the material is specifically manufactured for the vehicle being stored.
  • No RV shall be openly visible to an adjoining lot. Landscaped screening can be used.

The former code did not impose a length limit on RVs and boat, although one in place several years ago had one.

Although the code is effective immediately, councilman Mark Luetke noted that the code is complaint driven.

“It is a good neighbor policy. We assume the owner of the vehicles will be good neighbors and comply as a sense of decorum. This creates a last resort if a neighbor has problems with storage to an adjacent lot,” he said.

Councilman Mike Brown stressed that the city will enforce violations of the law.

The former guidelines included a three-foot setback and did not include storage on a hard surface. The previous law also permitted 48 hours for an RV to be parked in the front yard for loading or unloading. Now that time frame is 72 hours.

To read the new code, go online to, and find City Council Records, Nov. 18 packet.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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