SIERRA VISTA — The future of recreational vehicles at a manufactured home subdivision in the city is shaky now that the planning and zoning commission will recommend to the City Council that they not be permitted.
The vote against allowing the RVs at Cloud 9 Ranch Estates did not come easily Tuesday afternoon as four members of the Planning and Zoning Commission — three other members were missing — struggled with the decision. In the end, the vote was 3—1 against allowing the dwellings at the manufactured home subdivision off State Route 90.
That means people living in RVs at Cloud 9 will have to relocate their residences to a community where RVs are allowed — they are permitted at mobile home parks — or, in the case of Amanda Root, who owns her RV and the land it sits on at Cloud 9, remove the RV and place a structure there that conforms to city code.
Members of the planning and zoning commission wanted to table the matter a second time, but because they had done that at their last meeting in October, they were told by city officials they had to vote on a recommendation.
After two failed motions — one to deny a resolution that would allow the RVs and the other to approve it — the four commissioners asked for a moment so they could discuss the situation. They came back with the vote against allowing the RVs.
Councilmembers will have the final say on the matter at their regular meeting on Jan. 28, said Sierra Vista Community Development Director Matt McLachlan. He and his staff are recommending against allowing RVs at Cloud 9 or other manufactured home communities in the city.
If the City Council votes against allowing the RVs at Cloud 9, they could end up in court, said Paul Avelar, an attorney with a nonprofit organization called Institute for Justice. The organization, which helps homeowners and small business owners with challenges from government entities, is advocating for Root and Grandy and Georgia Montgomery, a couple who owns their RV but rent the land it’s on.
The saga of the recreational vehicles at Cloud 9 started this summer when a resident there complained about them to the city. Root and the Montgomeries had been living at Cloud 9 for years before the complaint surfaced, Avelar said.
Once that happened, the RV dwellers received notices from code enforcement that they were in violation. Initially the city gave the RV residents a month to pack up and go, but that deadline was extended after the residents had a press conference with Avelar in front of Root’s property.
Root repeatedly has said she cannot afford a manufactured house. She had one years ago, but it burned down and a friend gave her the RV. City officials have said they tried working with Root, even offering her a free manufactured house to live in. But Root said the house was in poor condition. She also said the city only referred her to a manufactured home company and nothing more. The Montgomeries also said they cannot afford to move.