Sturgis Residents May Offer Camping at Their Homes
Residents of Sturgis, S.D., who have hosted motorcycle rally campers in the past can now, legally, continue to do so.
The Sturgis City Council Monday (July 2) approved an ordinance regulating temporary camping at residences within the city, the Rapid City Journal reported.
City officials say the ordinance is written in a way so as to keep the state at bay with their campground laws, while being easy to understand and as lenient with residents as possible, although still regulatory.
After being sent back to the city's ordinance committee for some fine tuning, the council Monday approved two changes to the language of the ordinance.
The first change was offered by Councilman Ron Waterland proposing that there be no 5-foot side yard setback requirement, only a front and rear setback requirement.
Joe DesJarlais offered a more sweeping change to the ordinance in essence "grandfathering" in those who had hosted campers in the past. His suggestion was that a preexisting non-conforming camping use on a non-commercial parcel, which the property owner can demonstrate was established and has existed during each annual rally period prior to the enactment of the ordinance, may continue so long as that pre-existing use on that parcel does not change or expand.
In all cases, no more than 19 campers may be allowed at any campsite or residence.
"This is a way for residents to reap a little benefit from the rally," DesJarlais said of hosting campers.
DesJarlais had offered another language change to the ordinance that would have made it effective as of Aug. 15, 2012. That date, which falls after this year's rally, would have left the city without any regulation of camping at residences.
"That would mean camping is outlawed for 2012," Council member David Hersrud said.
And that would leave residents who host campers vulnerable.
He said that if something happened to a camper on someone's property, it would be easy for an insurance agent to say they were not going to cover it because the homeowner was breaking the law by having camping.
The ordinance as approved Monday allows temporary camping within residential areas of the city. Currently, there are only two places in the city of Sturgis that are zoned for camping, Sturgis RV Park and a portion of the Days Inn.
Sturgis City Manager Daniel Ainslie has said that much of what the ordinance is trying to do is to define a public campground and a private campground.
A public campground, Ainslie said, would be considered a campground that is advertised as being open to the public and is profitable to the owner. A private campground is one that is used mainly for friends and family members. A public campground would fall under state laws and regulations.