New reservoir parking rules could result in stiff fines

Residents will have until July 6 to sound off on new rules affecting parking in neighborhoods along the Ross Barnett Reservoir.

Last month, the Pearl River Valley Water Supply District (PRV) posted new regulations governing the parking of boats, trailers and recreational vehicles (RVs) in its various subdivisions.

The rules will not be officially adopted until after the public comment period, which is expected to end around July 6, PRV Executive Director John Sigman said.

Residents will be able to comment via e-mail and can find out more information on the PRV’s Web site.

“We had a number of leaseholders who were concerned about the appearance of their neighborhoods and what some parking practices might do to their property values, (so) we began to look into what our rules were and what the public wanted,” he said. “Our board spent about five months on this.”

Under the provisions, trailers, boats and other water craft, and all-terrain vehicles must be parked in closed garages, open carports or at the rear of the home.

Class A, Class B and Class C motor homes, travel trailers, fifth wheels and campers may not be parked in residential areas within the PRV coverage area and must be stored off site, unless owners are given a parking permit by the PRV board.

Motor home sizes are governed by class, with Class A being the largest, Class B being the smallest and Class C being a cross between Classes A and B, according to the Expedition Motor Homes Web site.

Class A vehicles, for example, are about the size of large commercial tour buses and built on commercial chassis that are similar to tour buses and 18-wheelers. Class B vehicles resemble “oversized vans” while Class Cs resemble oversized vans but have a sleeper compartment above the driver’s cab, the Expedition Web site states.

Prohibited vehicles may be parked on a street or in a driveway for 72 hours for loading, unloading, repairing or cleaning, but then must be moved, according to the regulations.

Vehicles may be parked on a driveway under three conditions: they shall have current state registration and licensing, be in operable condition, and be free of garbage, trash, refuse and other items that violate PRV rules.

Also, under the rules, all trailers excluding boat-hauling trailers will be limited to 18 feet in length.

“The committee felt that (the length) was a fair compromise. Anything bigger than that was getting to be commercial (in size),” Sigman said. “Boat trailers are not limited to that length, because a lot (of them) are bigger than that.”

Violators can face fines up to $1,000.

 

The parking fines are far greater than other fines set by the PRV.

Creating wakes in no-wake zones on the Ross Barnett Reservoir, could result in 15 days in jail, a fine of $250, or both. Abandoning watercraft can result in a fine of not more than $500. And feeding alligators can result in a $50 fine, according to PRV regulations. 

“When we re-wrote that section (the fine) was in the section to begin with,” Sigman said. “It’s not intended to be larger or lesser than any others.”

Maximum fines are set by the PRV and approved by the state.

Rules will be enforced by the Reservoir Patrol police force, as well as the district’s code enforcement division.

“If a vehicle is parked there (for longer than allowed), our citizens are pretty good about letting us know it’s something to be looked into,” Sigman said.

PRV governs approximately 6,000 leaseholders in 43 separate subdivisions.

Under state law, reservoir land can be leased, but not purchased by homeowners. Because the land is leased, PRV can set rules regarding parking, the placement of storage buildings, and the like.

The board adopted the new parking rules in provisional form this month, so they could be opened for public comment.

“After the public comment (period) the board will consider adopting the rules in the final form,” Sigman said. “Once that’s done, they’re reviewed by the secretary of state, and then they’re enforceable.”

For more information, log onto the PRV’s Web site, at therez.ms.gov, or visit the district’s social media page at Facebook.com/prvwsd.

 

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