NewsPalm Beach County

Actions

Palm Beach County residents outraged by ordinance they call confusing

Ordinance isn't clear what can, cannot be stored on property
Posted at 9:37 PM, Apr 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-28 21:49:34-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Some residents in western Palm Beach County are outraged over an ordinance they call confusing and claim that it targets their bottom line.

The measure doesn't allow them to store commercial and recreational vehicles on their property — even though some said they've been doing it for years.

Running a small business can be tough.

RELATED: Truckers protest parking ordinance for residential properties

"I have a trucking business. It's family-owned, just my husband and father-in-law," Natalia Alonso said.

Natalia Alonso is among the residents impacted by the ordinance.
Natalia Alonso is among the residents impacted by the ordinance.

She runs it while her husband and father-in-law do the driving.

"I keep the trucks in the back of my property along the side of the line," she said.

Alonso said she first came to the attention of the county for having chicken coops. Once they saw their trucks, she said things escalated.

"After citing me for my chicken coops, they went ahead and told me that I also had illegal trucks parked on my property," she said. "I was told by my realtor, when I moved in and by county code enforcement directors, that I could have my vehicles back then," she said.

Under the current zoning code, residents are allowed one commercial truck to be stored, but it cannot weigh more than 12,500 pounds, the height of the truck can't exceed 9 feet, and can't be longer than 26 feet in length.

Palm Beach County commissioners held a zoning hearing on April 27, 2023, to review a commercial vehicle ordinance.
Palm Beach County commissioners held a zoning hearing on April 27, 2023, to review a commercial vehicle ordinance.

Many people at a Board of County Commissioners zoning hearing Thursday said the county needs to do a better job of making the code clear and that there were elements of the ordinance that were added, but they were not made aware of those changes.

"Before 2019, the code allowed you to, in the AR rural areas, you could have your boats and your RVs on your property, but when that change happened in 2019, it required the urban style of screening and parking of boats and RVs out in the rural areas," a county official said during the hearing.

Alonso said there are 17,000 homes in her community. She said many people have recreational vehicles, as well as work vehicles on their property. She wonders where all those vehicles are supposed to go. Plus, she said the fines have people living in fear.

"My case has been postponed and postponed and it just keeps getting dragged and dragged, and I don't get a solution," she said. "Every day I live in fear of not knowing when they're going to start putting those fines on me that could be $1,000 a day."

Currently, the county said it has staff looking at streamlining and simplifying the ordinance. The next zoning meeting on this topic is in June.