Living in a tent, camper or motor home is prohibited under code changes approved 2-0 by the Franklin County Commission Tuesday.
Previously, people could live in a tent, motor home or camper for up to 90 days on land zoned agricultural non-urban in a one-year period and up to 14 days in any other district.
Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer and First District Commissioner Tim Brinker approved the change as well as some other code amendments Tuesday. Second District Commissioner Mike Schatz was absent.
Campers, motor homes and tents can still be used for recreation, but not as a residence, Planning Director Scottie Eagan said. For instance, a property owner could not use a camper to house a tenant, which has been an issue in Franklin County.
Recently, the county planing department issued two violation notices because people were living in campers, according to Tori Karim, zoning enforcement officer. In those cases, the people had been living in campers in the Lonedell area for about six months, he said.
The planning department does not send out a notice of violation until it gets a written complaint from a neighbor or citizen, Karim added. In these cases, complaints involved noises at night and vehicles coming and going.
People are no longer living in the campers, but other property cleanup issues must still be addressed, Karim said.
One of the properties is in the West Wood subdivision off Highway FF, and the other is off Highway 30.
The cases are not in county municipal court at this time. The planning department tries to work with property owners to achieve compliance before going to court, Karim said.
One violation was issued Feb. 10 and the other March 5.
After consulting legal counsel, it was determined that it would be more enforceable to have a complete prohibition against living in campers, motor homes and tents, Eagan said.
Previously, when a period of up to 90 days was allowed, there could be a question of when the time period started, Eagan added.
Eagan said living in a camper, motor home or tent can be a problem because they may not have access to water and sewer services required by the county.
“All that sanitary stuff is an issue,” she said.
The new code allows for one “accessory dwelling” per lot that is at least 1 acre. But the unit cannot be rented and must be a permanent structure connected to proper water and sewer services. The exterior appearance of the units must be similar to the principal structure on the property.