Boat, RV Storage Rules Changing in Some Cities

Posted on Mar 23 2010 - 4:01pm by Holly Robinson


If you need to store a boat or an RV, it is wise to check with your municipality to find out the most current rules on boat or RV storage. In some cities across the nation, city councils and village trustees are changing the rules. Many self-storage facilities will accept vehicles for storage, giving boat and RV owners another option if they live in an area that prohibits outdoor storage of large vehicles.

Newman, California

In Newman, California, it is against the city code for homeowners to store boats in their driveways. The code allows boat owners to store their boats in garages, or in fenced side or back yards, but not on the street or in driveways. Newman’s code is not new, but the city just began to enforce it, issuing more than a dozen citations and then suspending them in response to protests and concerns expressed by city council members.

At a community meeting, council member Bob Martina commented, “We haven’t cited them and now we are….It bothers me when the law is not applied consistently across the board. I think that it is important that it applies to everyone.”

“My boat has been there 10 years without any problems,” one resident told the City Council at the same meeting. Another resident commented, “We pay our registration, and we have nowhere else to park it….What are we supposed to do with our boat?”

“It was a citywide endeavor. We didn’t target any one neighborhood,” City Manager Michael Holland told Mattos Newspapers. “We have to start somewhere,” he continued. 

Ultimately, Newman’s city council agreed to suspend enforcement of the boat storage ordinance until it can review the city code. Meanwhile, boat owners have been asked to submit their own suggestions.

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

In Cape Elizabeth, Maine, the Town Council has approved new boat storage rules, allowing residents to winter their boats at Great Pond until the last Saturday in March (winter storage begins the first Saturday in November). During the rest of the

year, residents can use a city storage rack, if they purchase a permit from Town Hall. Each season, 30 such permits will be issued on a first come, first served basis.

In Cape Elizabeth, the decision not to let residents store their boats at Great Pond over the summer was based on the need to maintain the water quality in the pond. Boats were being stored, and in some cases abandoned, on either side of the access path, in the vegetation buffer that needs maintenance in order for the pond water to be maintained.

 Gurnee, Illinois

In the village of Gurnee, Illinois, the problem is not boat but RV storage. Village trustees, reacting to RVs and trailers being parked on streets, in driveways, and in yards, voted to require RV and trailer owners to register their vehicles with the village, and sets up a complicated system of rules that must be complied with if residents want to store RVs and trailers outside their homes. Residents who already have an RV parked on their premises in violation of the new ordinance will receive “grandfather privileges,” and will not be required to register their vehicles. A nine-month grace period has also been set up to give residents time to register their vehicles and bring them into compliance with the ordinance. After nine months, new RVs and trailers must be stored in an enclosed structure, or must be stored at some other location. (House guests arriving in RVs will be allowed to park their vehicles for 30 days.)

The Gurnee decision followed months of public hearings and field trips by village trustees to view neighborhoods where RVs and trailers were being stored in plain view.  

Sources used:

Cape Elizabeth, Town of. “Boat storage rules take effect at Great Pond.” March 8, 2010.

“Citations put on hold while city studies options.” Westside Connect. March 20, 2010.

Collins, Ed. “Village tightens RV rules: older vehicles, trailers grandfathered in.” Lake County News-Sun. March 18, 2010.