Front-yard RVs Cause Concern in Baileys Harbor

“Go RV-ing,” an ad campaign says. But it probably didn’t mean “go camping long term” on your lawn.

Baileys Harbor needs an ordinance to stop residents and vacation-property owners from, essentially, doing just that: parking RVs in their yards and driveways and using them as living spaces, according to the chair of the town plan commission.

“It’s an eyesore,” Tim Tishler said of a few properties in rural and unincorporated “urban” portions of the town.

Door County has a camping ordinance, but the town does not have its own rules that permit the town to send its constable to the property to issue an order to cease or limit the RV use. Tishler said unless the town has an ordinance that mirrors the county rules, the constable may not approach the owners or occupants to notify them of the limits.

“The county has an ordinance that says, basically, you can’t use a camper on private property for more than 30 days total throughout the year,” Tishler said. “It’s up to the county to enforce it. The county is understaffed.”

Campers are allowed in driveways, and numerous residents park them for months or years to use for guests.

“It’s easy to tell when a person is using it, like the bump-outs are out,” Tishler said.

By the county’s rules, a camper must be moved after being used for 30 days during a year.

“There’s a house up here that has three in the front yard, and they stay there,” Tishler said.

The town plan commission had a meeting this month to review portions of its comprehensive plan, but commissioners spent most of their time discussing the RV and camping issue. They decided to talk about it more during a future meeting.

Baileys Harbor is one of the townships governed by county zoning. Mariah Goode, director of the county’s Department of Land Use Services, provided information to the commissioners this month when they were seeking possible solutions.

The county zoning law notes that the 30-day maximum for “use” of an RV can include any days when the camper or RV is parked on the property. If the owner uses the RV, leaves for a week or two, then uses it again, those days when the RV was unoccupied may be counted toward the 30-day total.

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