Are You Storing Your Recreational Vehicle Correctly? You Might Not Be

Memorial Day weekend is considered the unofficial start of summer, which means many people will be enjoying their recreational vehicles (RVs) in the warmer weather.  While some Auburn Hills residents store their RVs at commercial storage facilities, most choose to store them at their residence to save money and for the convenience of use.  If you elect to store your RV at your residence, now would be a good time to review the City’s requirements for RV storage on residential property to make sure you’re not inadvertently in violation of the City’s ordinances.  Code Enforcement staff has received several complaints regarding improper RV storage in recent weeks, so we wanted to take this opportunity to explain the rules.

What is a recreational vehicle (RV)?  The City defines an RV as any vehicle this is self-propelled or capable of being towed and primarily designed, constructed, or converted to provide recreational uses or to provide temporary living quarters for camping, or recreational travel, which normally would be required to be licensed by the State of Michigan.  An RV includes, but is not limited to; utility trailer, trailer coach; camping trailer; full-tent trailer; motor home; pickup (slide-in) camper; boat, personal watercraft, snowmobile, and all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Where RV(s) are on a utility trailer, they will together be considered one (1) RV. 

What are the City’s standards for RV parking and storage?  Section 1813 of the Zoning Ordinance outlines the following:

  1. A person may park or store an RV in a residentially zoned district when the RV is accessory to a home on a lot of record.  The RV may not be parked or stored on a vacant parcel.
  2. An RV may only be parked or stored in the side or rear yard on an approved surface (see standards below for approved surface).  The ordinance does allow for a “front yard exception” when side or rear yard parking or storage is determined by the enforcement officer not to be feasible or practical.  In such as case, a person may park or store one (1) RV on a residential lot in the front yard provided the RV is parked or stored on an approved surface and does not overhang or block a public sidewalk. Note:  A person may park an RV in the front yard for the purposes of loading, unloading, or cleaning for a period of time not to exceed forty-eight (48) hours, but the temporary parking is subject to the requirements of the ordinance.
  3. An RV shall be placed at least five (5) feet from the lot line. 
  4. A maximum number of three (3) RVs are permitted to be parked or stored outside. 
  5. An RV shall be owned, rented, or leased by an owner or occupant of the property on which the RV is parked or stored and shall be currently licensed.  Thus, your property may not be utilized as a storage site for the RVs of friends and family.
  6. A property owner or occupant may permit a visitor to park a single RV on their lot subject to the requirements of the ordinance. The maximum stay for all visitor RVs combined shall not exceed fourteen (14) consecutive days, not to exceed twenty-eight (28) days per calendar year.  An RV may be temporarily connected to water and electricity during the visit.  An RV shall not be connected to a sanitary sewer line at any time.              
  7. An RV shall not be used for living quarters, except visitor parking as described above.      
Example of an RV properly stored in the rear yard on an improved surface in Auburn Hills (Source: AHCD)

Please note that vehicles, including RVs, are prohibited from being parked or stored on the lawn anywhere (e.g., front, side, or rear yards) on your property. Vehicles must be parked or stored on a gravel, cement, asphalt, or brick surface that is constructed per the City’s design standards.  If you decide to utilize a hard gravel surface for your storage area, it must be a minimum of six (6) inches in depth of compatible stone and subsequently maintained over time.  This ordinance is intended to eliminate the blighting factors associated with the indiscriminate parking of vehicles on the lawn.  The City has determined that lawn parking is unsightly, causes the loss of ground cover and erosion, provides potential environmental hazards, and could potentially impede emergency vehicle/personnel access to a home or other structure on the property.

Please contact Code Enforcement staff at 248-364-6900 or enfcomp@auburnhills.org for further clarification of this law or to report a concern in your neighborhood.

We thank our residents for adhering to these standards as they are designed to preserve, protect, and enhance the quality of life of those living in Auburn Hills.

Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

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