Last I checked we live in a free country, unless you do that living in a RV

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Okay, I know I have said this 900 times, but the Gargoyle Leader editorial board really doesn’t know WTF they are talking about. Especially when it comes to a proposed RV ordinance. I watched the planning commission and council discussions, an ordinance has yet to be hammered out. How do you create an opinion on something that doesn’t exist yet? And how many of you actually watched the discussions? After reading your worthless rant in your worthless rag today, it is obvious none of you know a damn thing about the proposal. Let’s review;

Campgrounds are designed for temporary, recreational activity. Hanging out with the family. Parking a camper for a while at some new destination to see the sights there. They are not, however, designed to be someone’s permanent home.

This is partially correct. If you are talking about state or federally owned campgrounds, you are correct. But privately owned campgrounds are no different then a mobile home park or an apartment building. If someone is paying rent to the campground owner and that owner is paying property taxes why is it any of the city’s f’ing business how long they stay there?

Even the swankiest RV isn’t suitable to meet city codes for a permanent dwelling.

How would you know? Have you researched modern RV’s lately? You obviously have not been in some of the them. Most of them can resist below zero temps, in fact I have seen trailer homes in worse condition then most RV’s in this town. Maybe the city should do something about that problem.

So the City Council has an obligation to address an issue that’s cropped up in Sioux Falls regarding campground sites. Some campers are staying there nearly year-round – through winter’s frigid temperatures as well as the summer’s sun.

It is not an issue, or has it ever been one. Even one of the code enforcement officers admitted in your newspaper one of the main reasons they want the ordinance is because one does not exist. Typical of SF code enforcement, make more unneeded rules. When this was brought up in the planning meeting a campground owner suggested that they should go ahead and put one on the books if they feel they need one. When asked how long he thinks campers should be able to stay he said, “Well in Wisconsin they have a similiar rule, you can stay in a spot for 365 days in a year.” Sounds like a simple solution to me.

Though, the visitors are certainly welcome, the practice of staying yearlong in campgrounds violates the city’s health and safety codes.

This is also partially true. The biggest thing the city was concerned about was propane tanks. I couldn’t agree with them more, they can explode if they are dysfunctional. So make an ordinance about faulty propane tanks. What difference does it make if a camper stays 180 or 181 days if it has nothing to do with the stay, but more to do with their propane tank? As for these ‘supposed’ violations tell us which ones they are violating. Code enforcement already has the power to enforce health violations on a private campground. How does a 180 day rule prevent people from breaking health violations?

To make that point even clearer, the council wants to create a definition of temporary so that campers know precisely how long they can stay at a campsite. Yes, any time limit – such as the 180-day span that’s being proposed – is going to be arbitrary. But it’s clear that a precise definition is needed, and certainly six months is long enough to enjoy an extended stay. The council possibly will delay its vote on the proposal until September, and if it takes that long to hear residents comments, that’s fine. Still, the council must set a time limit. It’s actually in everyone’s best interest.

Arbitrary? Then what’s the point? So now the Argus gets to decide how long a visitor is welcome? How is a 180 day time limit in my best interest? How does that affect me? Seriously? And who cares if they are just visiting, they are still contributing to our tax base by buying groceries and other products and services in our community and by paying rent to the campground owner who pays property taxes from that rent. Sounds like we should be doing all we can to keep them here as long as possible.

This ordinance is about code enforcement bullying, nothing else. Besides, even if a camper must move after 180 days, there is nothing stopping them from driving a half-mile down the road and pitching tent at another campsite for another 180 days. That alone proves how stupid, ridiculous and downright assinine this proposal is.

I hope the next mayor fires the entire code enforcement office on day one and starts from scratch, too bad they can’t fire the editorial board.



24 comments ↓

#1 Ghost of Dude on 07.10.09 at 11:06 am

“Well in Wisconsin they have a similiar rule, you can stay in a spot for 365 days in a year.”

What about leap year?

#2 Plaintiff Guy on 07.10.09 at 12:54 pm

The code enforcement officer is a hayseed who was dismissed from the highway patrolman. He cites without justification then bullys citizens to collect. I hope everyone soon learns citations are a revenue producer and (most often) there is no violation. It’s an admission of guilt if you pay. Pay your booky, don’t pay the city. Citations are improperly served. Per code section 2-66, the city’s citation MAY be subject to judicial review. The legal process can be constitutionally questioned but NEITHER PARTY CAN APPEAL INTO COURT. You cannot appeal and they cannot use a court for enforcement.

#3 Plaintiff Guy on 07.10.09 at 1:03 pm

Yes, total rebuild of code enforcement but also total reorganization of the city attorney’s office. I’d say start by replacing everyone and revamping city codes. If you cite me legally and constitutionally with detailed unrefuteable codes, I’ll comply. Meanwhile these departments are a circus that’s irritating but fun to play with.

#4 Warren Phear on 07.10.09 at 7:11 pm

There is another issue here. How about the over 2000 RV’ers who call the Tower Campground at 4609 West 12th Street home? Not bad for a DUMP that has all of 20 hook ups. Or the hundreds of RV’ers who call Yogi Bear Campground home? Or the hundreds of RV’ers who call Comfort Inn on North Cliff home? There ae THOUSANDS of Minnehaha County registered voters in these RV’s who call these dumps home simply because they have the the mail forwarding business afforded them by operations like ALTERNATIVE RESOURCES. Think about it. THOUSANDS of so called RESIDENTS voting on our issues while safely tucked away in “Esacapee Trailer Parks” in the sun belt. Rv’ers who never were and never will be SD residents.

#5 Costner on 07.10.09 at 10:20 pm

Who cares. 90% of them don’t vote because they aren’t informed on the issues, and even if they all voted it still isn’t enough to have a dramatic effect on an election.

Besides – they are considered SD residents like it or not. They pay the state for license plates and several businesses survive based upon them. That means at least some jobs are directly due to RVers calling SD home, and that means more tax revenue and a snowball effect to our economy.

Besides – other than the voting issue (which is really a moot point) what possible harm can they do? I fail to see why I should care if someone lives in Oregon or Michigan or Iowa or West Virginia their entire life but decides to call SD home when they retire. Good for them.

#6 l3wis on 07.11.09 at 4:11 am

That’s the thing that really irks me about this proposed ordinance, it is like saying, your tax revenue is not welcome here. Reminds me of the soccer tourney when 4000 visitors had to stay in SC.

#7 Warren Phear on 07.11.09 at 4:16 am

Costner says:
July 10th, 2009 at 10:20 pm
Who cares. 90% of them don’t vote

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Really??? Sue Roust, Minnehaha County Auditor might just disagree with you on that one. Two stories from two different elections. 2004, and 2008 follow.

http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2004/10/27_steilm_sodakrvvoters/

http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=0,75773

Costner says:
July 10th, 2009 at 10:20 pm
I fail to see why I should care if someone lives in Oregon or Michigan or Iowa or West Virginia their entire life but decides to call SD home when they retire.
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These thousands of RV’ers ONLY connection to SD is a mail forwarding address. They NEVER lived here. They NEVER will. Is that in your opinion calling SD home?

Definition of Residency for Voter Registration (SDCL 12-1-4)

For the purposes of this title, the term, residence, means the place in which a person has FIXED his or her habitation and to which the person, whenever absent, INTENDS to return.

A person who has left home and gone into another state or territory or county of this state for a temporary purpose only has not changed his or her residence.

A person is considered to have gained a residence in any county or municipality of this state in which the person actually lives, if the person has no present intention of leaving.

IF A PERSON MOVES TO ANOTHER STATE, WITH THE INTENTION OF MAKING IT HIS OR HER PERMANENT HOME THE PERSON THEREBY LOSES RESIDENCE IN THIS STATE.

#8 l3wis on 07.11.09 at 5:11 am

As for voting, the state does a national check on RVers that vote here. In other words if they are caught voting in another state they will be charged with voter fraud. The state does a lot assbackwards things but I do give them credit on their elections, paper ballots are still the best way to vote.

#9 Plaintiff Guy on 07.11.09 at 12:52 pm

If the city population is say 140,000 and about 14,000 are out of state RV’ers, could the city not reduce city employees 10% or about 120 jobs? Considering the economy (there’s no building) could they not furlough another 280. Eliminating 400 city jobs could save about 24 million from the annual budget and another 300 million from ongoing benefit packages. Just a thought.

#10 Plaintiff Guy on 07.11.09 at 12:57 pm

Has anyone noticed the brand new construction equipment and new trucks public works has. An expensive grader has been siting near my home unused for several weeks. I watched them unload a multi-million dollar paving machine to blacktop about 100′. There were 10 city employees each driving a brand new pickup. It took all day (mostly coffee breaks). I’ve seen this waist in other cities but this is really bad.

#11 Costner on 07.11.09 at 1:28 pm

Really??? Sue Roust, Minnehaha County Auditor might just disagree with you on that one. Two stories from two different elections. 2004, and 2008 follow.

WP – it doesn’t sound like they even know how many RVers exist – she is just basing it upon a few addresses, so how the hell can you know how many of them are voting?

I’ll still stand by my statement – I’m quite sure the vast, vast majority of RVers don’t vote in SD elections because they honestly don’t care, and even those that do – even when it is a few thousand like those stories use as their examples – it isn’t enough to have a significant impact.

Unless you have any information to suggest RVers all tend to vote for one political party or another, it is probably a statistical wash.

Just another issue people get worked up about but in reality has little if any impact.

#12 GK on 07.11.09 at 4:04 pm

Cosnter…how can you tell how many of them vote? It’s not rocket science. If their address is a mail forwarding box, chances are they are an “RV Voter”. If they send in an absentee ballot, chances are they voted. Not that hard to figure out. As for them being able to swing an election…a statewide election for Senate or House or Govn’r, probably not, but they sure as hell can swing an election for State House, State Senate or City Council.

RV voters tend to predominately vote Republican, by about a 2:1 margin. So yes, it has quite a bit of impact.

#13 Costner on 07.11.09 at 9:00 pm

I’ll agree – it isn’t rocket science, but it does require hard facts. Can you tell me how many RVers call South Dakota home?

I think I know the answer. So it doesn’t matter if we had 1,000 absentee voters from the same address when you don’t know how many we have total, and unless you know which way those 1,000 voted and for what specific issues or candidates they voted for it is a moot point. On top of that there is a chance many of these people do in fact spent time here in the state and I’m sure there are a few who have actually lived in SD for years or even decades before deciding to retire and travel the nation in their RV, so how do we weed out the “real” resident RVers from those who are just using SD for tax reasons?

As to your comment about RVers voting predominately Republican by a 2:1 margin, I’d just love to see a source on that one other than the magic hat (or perhaps orifice) you pulled it from. I’d love to believe it, but as you know 89% of all statistics are just made up on the spot.

#14 Warren Phear on 07.12.09 at 7:02 am

Costner says:
July 11th, 2009 at 9:00 pm
I’ll agree – it isn’t rocket science, but it does require hard facts. Can you tell me how many RVers call South Dakota home?

I think I know the answer. So it doesn’t matter if we had 1,000 absentee voters from the same address when you don’t know how many we have total, and unless you know which way those 1,000 voted and for what specific issues or candidates they voted for it is a moot point. On top of that there is a chance many of these people do in fact spent time here in the state and I’m sure there are a few who have actually lived in SD for years or even decades before deciding to retire and travel the nation in their RV, so how do we weed out the “real” resident RVers from those who are just using SD for tax reasons?

As to your comment about RVers voting predominately Republican by a 2:1 margin, I’d just love to see a source on that one other than the magic hat (or perhaps orifice) you pulled it from.
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Out of an orifice Costner? No….from the articles.

From the 2000 article.

* Some states have taken action to block RV’ers from voting. Nevada accepts them as residents, but only allows RV’ers to vote in the presidential race. The concern in Nevada is that RV’ers might sway local elections. In South Dakota, Minnehaha County Auditor Sue Roust is also concerned. She’s a Democrat. She says RV voters tend to favor Republicans. She uses the Tower Campground precinct as an example.

“The voters who I consider to be the resident voters, there’s a slight Democratic edge in registration. Whereas with the RV’ers, it’s Republicans 46 percent, Democrats 27 percent,” says Roust.

In most elections a few thousand RV votes would carry little weight or worry. Close races though have become almost the norm for South Dakota. A little over 500 votes separated the senate candidates in 2002. This year looks as close. If it’s a cliffhanger, state residents may pay much more attention to the owners of recreational vehicles.*

From the 2008 article.

* Nearly a thousand more permanent R-Vers have registered in Minnehaha County since the 2006 general election. There are close to 2000 registered, permanent RV-ers at one address, here at 4609 W. 12th Street. And Roust says the ones who don’t actually live at the campground are still able to influence elections. Roust says, “It can have an impact on statewide issues. The one that concerns me most is legislative races. ”

With a limited number of voters in any given district, Roust says out-of-state R-Ver voters can potentially change the tide of ballot issues. Roust says, “I’ve seen patterns that indicate that the R-V-ers don’t necessarily vote the same way as the people who actually live full-time in that precinct.” *

Now…you wanna call the Minenehaha County Auditor a liar pulling numbers out of her orifice….go for it.

#15 Plaintiff Guy on 07.12.09 at 1:04 pm

What if many RV people are dead people from out of state who registered a salvaged RV? it would be hard to prove this is or is not happening. There’s lots of room here for voter fraud and rigged elections.

#16 l3wis on 07.13.09 at 6:55 am

I guess I could care less who votes whether they are RV’rs or not. My concern is that we are telling visitors that their tax revenue isn’t important to us.

#17 Costner on 07.13.09 at 7:04 am

“Minnehaha County Auditor Sue Roust is also concerned. She’s a Democrat. She says RV voters tend to favor Republicans.”

She can say whatever she wishes, but that doesn’t make it true. Even a county auditor shouldn’t know which way people are voting on an individual level. In short – she is simply full of shit – so yea I’ll call her on it.

Second, I still haven’t seen any solutions for how you separate the legitimate RVers from those who you feel are abusing the system.

Maybe one election out of every 100 is close enough to where these people MIGHT make a difference. I guess I don’t think this is as big of an issue as you are making it out to be, especially when I’m sure there are a lot of them that are in fact legitimate SD residents who pay sales taxes as well as license plate fees which all bring revenue into the state coffers.

#18 Warren Phear on 07.13.09 at 7:24 am

Costner says:
July 13th, 2009 at 7:04 am
I guess I don’t think this is as big of an issue as you are making it out to be, especially when I’m sure there are a lot of them that are in fact legitimate SD residents who pay sales taxes as well as license plate fees which all bring revenue into the state coffers.
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After any election the Argus prints precinct by precinct the election results. One of the most disproportionate precincts for either party is the one Tower Campground is in. 2 to 1 republican. Have you ever been through Tower Campground? EMPTY and about as run down as any area in Sioux Falls. Yet this is the home to over 2,000 RV’ers.

#19 l3wis on 07.13.09 at 11:13 am

You bring up a good point about this ordinance, Warren. It’s not about the time the RV’s stay it’s about how they are doing their living here. If they are violating health codes, then slap them with a fine and boot them out. The 180 day rule doesn’t stop people from living in a flea infested RV.

#20 Costner on 07.13.09 at 11:25 am

I agree. Health code rules apply whether someone is there for one day or 1000 days. Other than that if we allow trailer parks in the city, we should continue to allow people to stay in RV parks as long as they see fit.

Actually based upon what I’ve seen, I’d rather live next to an RV park than a trailer park anyway.

As to those disproportionate precints WP, I’d have to see the numbers. Even if it is skewed as far as you claim, I still need to see the hard numbers so I can make a determination if it would ever be enough to skew an election result. I have to admit…still not buying it as a legitimate concern.

#21 Plaintiff Guy on 07.13.09 at 3:24 pm

Maybe we should jackup our homes and put wheels under them so we meet RV guidelines. It would keep the code enforcer goon away and we would not have to pay protection money to the city.

#22 Warren Phear on 07.14.09 at 3:52 am

l3wis says:
July 13th, 2009 at 11:13 am
You bring up a good point about this ordinance, Warren. It’s not about the time the RV’s stay it’s about how they are doing their living here. If they are violating health codes, then slap them with a fine and boot them out. The 180 day rule doesn’t stop people from living in a flea infested RV.
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Not sure I understand how this topic got sidetracked. My concern has nothing to do with codes. My point is Tower campground, that dump on West 12th Street, is nothing more than a front for Alternative Resources to give the APPEARANCE that RV’ers have a fixed residency here. They do not. Drive thru Tower campground someday and tell me how it can be a permanent fixed residency to over 2000 RV’s and it’s occupants.

#23 Costner on 07.14.09 at 6:45 am

The thing is WP – there is nothing in the law that says RVers need to spend half of their time in state. The Tower Campground merely provides a service and they aren’t really a “front” for anything nor are RVers pretending to live there 365 days a year.

Alternative Resources is very open and honest about the services they provide. There is a demand out there and they simply fulfill it without breaking any laws, so I can’t fault them for it.

Maybe 90% of the RVers won’t ever contribute anything to our state other than some license plate fees, but for the other 10% and the tourism that these services can help promote – I’d still say it is worth it.

#24 Plaintiff Guy on 07.14.09 at 1:35 pm

How about a small unoccupied never unfolded camp trailer and a 2nd home in Northwest Iowa where property and sales taxes are lower. Campgrounds could have a winch and rails system to move all junk trailers over 1 lot once a year. Imagine watching thousands of junk trailers syncronously move once a year. Northwest Iowa cannot be annexed, you’d be SD so no state income tax, and you’ll be closer to the new casino resort.. Complicated, maybe a PO Box here and immigrate barely into Iowa or Minnesota to escape Sioux Falls zoning nazis.

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