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Chesterfield Council Sits Tight on Tax Rate for 2011

City council hears resident complaint over new RV ordinance.

Chesterfield City Council voted 7-0 to keep property tax rates the same for 2011, which is 3 cents per $100 of assessed value.

Councilman Randy Logan was absent and didn't vote.

The rate includes real estate and personal property, such as cars, RVs and boats. The tax revenue will pay debt service on general obligation bonds for parks, officials said.

At the same time, Mayor Bruce Geiger said it was important to keep property values steady during the present economy, and that was why in part he voted to ban recreational vehicles from residential property earlier this year.

At the time, he was a council member, not mayor, so he could vote. The RV ban came about in February.

A resident of Clarkson Woods, Felix Owens, asked the council Monday to consider grandfathering-in some RVs, like his, that he has kept parked by his house on a concrete pad for nearly three decades.

Geiger said no, the council already considered a "grandfather" clause for the ordinance, yet decided against it in a 6-2 vote.

Owens said he had no complaints from his neighbors about the 38-foot, $250,000 recreational vehicle parked beside his ranch-style home. He and his wife Sharon Owens go to Florida with it in the winter.

However, Councilwoman Connie Fults said someone in the couple's neighborhood complained to her about the RV.

Sharon Owens pointed out afterward that neighbors park two, three and four cars in their front facing driveways while they park the RV in the back area of a rear entry garage.

Councilman Matt Segal told Felix Owens he felt the council did its due diligence before passing the anti-RV ordinance, by talking to many subdivision trustees in Chesterfield. Segal said he heard from only three individuals in favor of allowing RVs on residential property, and all the rest were opposed to it.

RVs, boats, jet-skis and other similar items must be stored out of sight, or off-site—often at a cost to the owner.

"I consider the cost of storage part of the price of ownership," Segal said afterward, in restating a position he's voiced since the initial debate over the RV ban.

Sharon Owens said the couple returned from travel earlier this year, and knew nothing of the new ordinance banning RVs. She said they received a notice to appear before the city regarding a violation.

She indicated afterward she was puzzled by the ill-will Fults spoke of from a neighbor.

"We've had a fabulous rapport with our neighbors," Owens said. She also said the house next door has sold four times in the 33 years they've lived there, and each time without any drop in value and with the RV within view.

A city ordinance such as the RV ban typically could be brought up for amendment by anyone on the council.

Felix A. Owens September 21, 2011 at 12:17 AM
We, nor any of our neighbors had seen any posting or notification anywhere about RV Residential Parking Restrictions agenda to be discussed prior to a City Council vote. It gave RV owners no opportunity to present their cases prior to law passage. Just the few close neighbors we've spoken to consider it absurd no consideration will be given to Grandfathering addendum despite our appeal to the Council. Felix & Sharon Owens

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