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Edgewood Resident Explains Why He Has Multiple RVs on His Property

Alex Schultz has always appreciated that there are two sides to a story. When Schultz read about the complaints at Edgewood City Council concerning a resident in who keeps two campers at his house, he knew he was the one they were talking about.

"I know there have been two complaints and I know which neighbors are doing it," he said. "I am a millennial with a family and kids, and I try really hard to be a good neighbor. I think the complaints are targeted more to me, and they have chosen to pick on me through those avenues."

One camper Schultz keeps on a slab in his side yard and it is a smaller one that his mom bought ten years ago against his advice. He said it was in bad shape, but his mom thought she could make it workable again, and didn't realize how much work the camper needed.

"I told her, you are in over your head, but we helped her remodel it, and ended up being bit by the bug," Schultz said. "We wanted to find another camper to work on and turn into a workable living camper. These are works of art. I know that you can't get very far by just working day to day for a company. I am a bit of an entrepreneur, and I found out if I fix things in a camper and film it, I can market the tape as a DIY project that other people can do. I own four campers right now, all Airstreams, and I keep one in the backyard on a slab where I work on it, and film it, so I can help other people fix up their campers. The others are in a storage unit, and as soon as I finish working on one, I take it back to the storage and bring another one in. The little one on the side is for my own personal use."

Schultz has talked to a representative from Planning & Development Services (PDS) and says that he was told they weren't going to tell him not to park the camper in his side yard.

"I do think that everyone needs to abide by a certain set of rules," he said. "It is a complex situation because on the website it does seem to say that you can park your camper in the side yard. They tell me the ordinance says you can't. I think it is important to have rules, but they need to be definitive."

At the meeting, Edgewood City Administrator Brian Dehner spoke highly of the resident, who turned out to be Schultz, admiring the work he does on the campers and the fact that he wants to build the business until he can have an outside place to work on the campers instead of at his home. The complaints brought to light the fact that the language on the website is misleading, and that there are quite a few people in the city who have two recreational vehicles at their houses.

"The vague language does not specify that if you want to have another recreational vehicle on the side of the house you have to go to the Board of Adjustment and fill out an application for a variance," said Dehner. "The ordinance does not specify a number. This is the first time in the two years I have been here that this has come up."

The plan to solve this conundrum is that Dehner's staff will draw up a recommendation for an amendment to the ordinance which was passed over ten years ago. The recommendation will specify a number of recreational vehicles that can be kept at the residence. Dehner said council will then vote on the language in the recommendation and decide whether to add the amendment to the ordinance. If the resident has had the recreational vehicle at the house before the original ordinance was passed, they are grandfathered in and will be allowed to keep their vehicle on the premises on a slab.

Dehner said Schultz's house still is in his mother's name, and his mother does not live there and the grandfather clause is not transferrable. Schultz has lived there four years.

However, Dehner said Schultz has been very good about trying to be in compliance with the laws of the city. He has told Schultz that he can come and speak to council on April 18, which is when the amendment recommendation will be presented.

"Mr. Schultz said to tell him specifically what he has to do to be within the law and he will do it," said Dehner. "If we change the ordinance, we have to read it twice, which would occur in May, then the mayor has ten days to sign it and it will go into effect 45 days later. This is as fair and equitable as the city can be."

In the meantime, Schultz will continue to try and build his business because his goal is to build it until he can get a storefront. He knows that one of the two people who complained about him is his neighbor across the street and he feels that that person is 'out to get him'. The other one is down by the cul-de-sac, and can only see into his back yard when the leaves are off the trees. Although he believes everyone needs to abide by the same set of rules, he doesn't believe his two neighbors are being fair.

"I am a good advocate," he said. "Most of my neighbors are fine with what I am doing. I have nothing to hide. I think it could be a clash of generations. Some of the people don't have anything better to do than watch out their windows."

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
Photo via City of Edgewood