An RV park should be allowed in one section of Marietta, Ohio, but not another, according to a recommendation Wednesday (April 15) by the city’s planning commission.
During the 90-minute meeting, planning commission members unanimously voted against recommending a change to city code that would have allowed RV parks in areas zoned with the C-3 designation, which would have included much of the city’s business district, according to The Marietta Times. They did, however, vote 4-1 in favor of allowing RV parks in the C-5 designation.
Both outcomes, however, do not definitively settle the controversial issue, said Lloyd Roth, planning commission chairman. He said it’s now up to the city council.
That’s because the planning commission is a body appointed by the mayor and is called upon to make recommendations on issues such as zoning code changes. In instances where the city council has sent a piece of legislation to the commission – like it did in these cases – the planning body makes that recommendation to the council. It is then up to the council to move forward with that recommendation or to go against it.
However, a six-vote council majority is required to override a planning commission recommendation, according to city code.
More than a dozen people attended the meeting, which at times devolved into personal attacks against city officials with claims of cronyism and favoritism.
Planning commission members subsequently defended themselves against those charges and brought up their reasons for voting as they did.
Mayor Michael Mullen said he opposed Ordinance 99, which would have allowed RV parks in the C-3 business designation, because of its broad implications for the rest of the city. The C-3 zoning designation includes much of Marietta’s business district.
“This is not a personal issue at all,” Mullen said. “This is not about people and kinship or any of the inferences that have been made. … This is not just the corner of one street we’re talking about. When I look at a zoning ordinance, I see a covenant that was made with whoever bought that property at that location at that time with a certain set of regulations.”
Chad Pressley, the city’s safety service director and a member of the planning commission, said he opposed allowing RV parks in the C-3 designation because of the administrative difficulties it would present.
“My concern is that whatever choices are made, there needs to be an understanding of what goes there, who’s responsible to regulate it, who’s responsible to make sure the values of this city are maintained,” he said, “and that’s not in this ordinance.”
Commission members Roger Adkins and Roger Mendenhall also took the opportunity to remind those in the audience that they were unbiased and “not in the mayor’s pocket.” Their concerns were also mainly about lack of regulations if the zoning was changed to allow RV parks.