Lake Elsinore, California city officials hope a compromise will ease relations between residents and the lakefront property owners who use their land for camping after several complaints from the former.
The Press-Enterprise reports that the Lake Elsinore City Council reviewed a proposal regarding camping on such properties on July 27th in a public hearing. The city has received many complaints from local residents over several months about campers leaving trash, being loud, and using glaring lights (among other grievances) on the lakefront properties.
Lake Elsinore’s northeast shore is composed of more than 170 private properties, most of which are uninhabited and sparsely developed due to the lack of infrastructure such as sewer lines, electricity, and Internet access as well as the strict municipal codes that regulate the area.
Instead of developing the lands, many landowners use their parcels for camping. Camping on those lands technically require permission from both the city government and the Riverside County Department of Health, and is restricted to recreational vehicles.
However, city officials such as Community Development Director Grant Taylor complain that few landowners actually seek official approval and that the city has done little to enforce their camping laws.
For these reasons, a compromise proposal was drawn up to satisfy the local residents, government officials, and the landowners.
“I think we came to a pretty reasonable balance that protects everybody’s interests and is consistent with state law and constitutional rights,” Taylor said. “We don’t want people living there year-round and we want to protect against trespass.”
The proposal would remove the requirement of camping permits for tent camping on the condition that campers keep their noise and light levels to a minimum and do not litter. Campers will also be allowed to camp on any weekend. However, campers cannot be on the land for more than 20 consecutive days and must wait nine days between each 20-day visit (excluding weekends).
Landowners who want to rent their properties as campgrounds, however, will still be required to apply for a permit.
“Camping is a temporary use,” Taylor said. “It’s not meant to be housing and we’re trying to discourage that.”
Camping is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the United States. In 2012 alone, more than 38 million Americans went camping.