Martin County Council Grapples with RV Parking Violations

The Martin County Council’s recent meeting saw a debate over code enforcement involving a property owner’s use of their land for parking recreational vehicles (RVs). The property, located on Southeast Commerce Avenue, was the subject of a code enforcement magistrate hearing, which delved into whether Capital C Inc. had violated local zoning ordinances by parking multiple RVs on an undeveloped vacant lot without the necessary development orders.

During the discussion, the county argued that the property owner’s actions constituted a code violation, presenting evidence of RVs parked for prolonged periods, complete with outdoor furniture and barbecues. The property owner, Cory Crowley, contested the evidence and maintained that their Harvest Host membership allowed for the parking of RVs without imposing a fee, implying that there was no commercial activity taking place on the lot. Crowley further argued that other properties in the county had similar parking arrangements without development orders, questioning the consistency of the county’s regulations.

The case was muddied by disagreements over the relevance of certain exhibits presented by the county. Crowley objected to the inclusion of some photographs and internet ads, arguing they were not representative of the violations on their property. As a result, the council ultimately decided to exclude several pieces of evidence but permitted others to remain. The Growth Management Director’s testimony that no development order was in place and no application had been filed for such an order further complicated matters. Crowley defended their right to use the property as a parking lot and not as an RV park.

The debate over the property’s use extended to the potential need for property improvements without permits and the positive impact of attracting visitors to the community. Amid increasing tensions and complex interpretations of the regulations, there was a suggestion to continue the discussion at a later date. The county presented a firm stance on the need for a development order, given the activities observed on the property. The conversation ended with the possibility of the respondent facing fines and the need to comply with the cited provisions of the Martin County Code by a specific deadline. The respondent expressed concerns about the implications of losing the case, which might hinder their ability to use their property as intended.

In addition to the case of Capital C Inc., the council addressed various other code enforcement issues. This included a separate property owner who had installed new windows without the necessary permits. The council found this to be a violation. Another discussion involved an expired permit for a fence installation, with the property owner detailing the challenges faced in securing the required approvals.

The council also reviewed a complaint against McDonald’s Corporation for an expired permit related to an air conditioning unit change. After hearing from the code compliance investigator and examining the exhibits, the council ordered McDonald’s to comply by a certain date, with the threat of fines and reimbursement costs for the investigation. Similarly, a revocable living trust faced scrutiny for an expired permit application concerning a new sign, with a decision mirroring that of the McDonald’s case. Additionally, a code violation involving concrete poured over a sidewalk without a permit was discussed, emphasizing the need for resolution within a set timeline.

Other cases reviewed by the council included a driveway apron encroaching on public right-of-way, a tarp-covered roof, and a fence installed without permits—all resulting in discussions about ordering compliance and potential fines. The meeting concluded with two cases of fine reduction stipulations and a review of the proposed reductions for property owners previously found in violation of building code permits.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Don Donaldson
County Council Officials:
Doug Smith, Stacey Hetherington, Harold Jenkins, Sarah Heard, Edward V. Ciampi, Don Donaldson (County Administrator)

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