Webber officials continue to work on camper ordinance

Campers as permanent living quarters an issue

The Webber Township board of trustees continued to discuss possible changes to the RV and camper ordinances during a special meeting last week. The board and the planning commission continue to iron out the details of the ordinances. (Star photo/Cathie Crew)

The Webber Township board of trustees continued to discuss possible changes to the RV and camper ordinances during a special meeting last week. The board and the planning commission continue to iron out the details of the ordinances. (Star photo/Cathie Crew)

WEBBER TOWNSHIP - The Webber Township board of trustees and the planning commission continue to work out the changes to the camper and RV ordinances.

A tentative township ordinance establishing police powers was discussed during the board meeting on Feb. 11, which Township supervisor Ernie Wogatzke characterized as a “culmination of what came out of the town hall meetings.”

The ordinance establishes guidelines for temporary campers and enforcement options for violations.

During the discussion it was determined that there was information missing from the ordinace, and the item was tabled until the wording could be corrected.

During a public input session on Feb. 18, the item was brought up for discussion again.

Wogatzke said the ordinance will establish police powers for RVs and tents.

“We made it a stand-alone ordinance,” he said. “All other issues will be handled through the zoning ordinance.”

After reviewing the ordinance, some trustees expressed reservations about the ordinance not allowing people to live in campers permanently.

“We have had people living in campers for years and now we are not going to allow it,” Township clerk Kathryn Young said. “Are we going to kick them out now and tell them they can’t live there anymore?”

Trustee Dan Cousar told the board that it has always been in the ordinance that living in a recreational vehicle full time was not allowed.

“This has been in past ordinances and Mike (Oisten) has put a lot of work into this,” Cousar said. “What would be the backlash if we were to pull that out?”

Oisten said there was not an issue with pulling that part if that is what the board wants.

“If they are compliant with all the other aspects of the ordinance, time in the camper shouldn’t be an issue,” Oisten said. “What we are more concerned about is blight and building in areas where it is not allowed.”

“We will need to take this ordinance back and redo the parts that refer to living in a camper,” Cousar said.

A motion to table the item once again was approved unanimously.

Prior to making changes to the camper ordinances, the board hosted several public input sessions where campers and residents expressed their concerns.

Many seasonal campers said they felt they were being blamed for things that were not their responsibility, and that many permanent residential properties were in worse condition than the camper sites.

Local residents cited multiple camping units crowding residents’ homes, excessive noise, high traffic, speeding and trash being left behind when campers leave as some of the issues.

For the past several months, the planning commission has worked on updating the ordinance to address the concerns of the permanent residents as well as those of the seasonal campers.

Cousar said the planning commission is continuing to work on the details of the camper zoning ordinance and it should be finalized soon.