City of Port Arthur to revamp ordinances regarding recreational vehicles

Published 12:38 am Sunday, November 27, 2022

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The City of Port Arthur is revisiting existing ordinances regarding recreational vehicles following a number of complaints in the Port Acres area.

District 4 Councilman Kenneth Marks said during this week’s council meeting that he met with city staff regarding the issue after a constituent made a complaint regarding a number of recreational vehicles violating city ordinances.

Marks toured with the concerned resident and found a number of recreational vehicles in violation, including several that were hooked to utilities on residential property.

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“Some were occupied,” he said. “There were people living in those, and that’s a direct violation of the ordinance.”

Currently, Marks said, there are 153 violations regarding recreational vehicles in municipal court.

After checking with the city attorney, he found three received citations.

“If we’ve got 150 violations in court, that’s a large number,” he said. “And if only three tickets have been issued, we’ve got a big problem.”

Larry Badon, senior planner for planning and zoning, confirmed that three members of his department had met with Mark Nov. 3 to discuss RVs.

Of the properties addressed, 10 were found to have no violation, while the 35 left could be in violation.

He suggested changes to the current ordinance have been made, and hopefully they will have revisions prepared for council by January.

Assistant City Manager Pamela Langford said dealing with recreational vehicles is similar to the process involving junk motor vehicles.

“We have to make them aware and send letters to the owners,” she said. “Once notifications are issued, we wait for confirmation from the United States Postal Service that the notification was delivered. We give a certain amount of time to let the resident get in compliance. If they do not, then staff can issue citations.”

However, staff said, removing the RVs in violation also poses a problem, as the wrecker companies that tow the vehicles are responsible for demolishing them, and by doing so spend more than they make.

“One of the purposes of this presentation today is so it’s on record and residents know it’s being addressed,” Marks said.

Councilman Cal Jones requested action.

“Why isn’t it getting done? Why do we have to keep going to the city year after year,” he said. “Everybody comes and gives a good speech. It sounds good. A year from now we’ll be discussing the same thing. We have code enforcement. Let’s get things done and stop discussing it.”