Freedom campers could be allowed to legally park in some Tauranga residential areas provided the motor homes are not directly in front of houses.
Tauranga City Council yesterday took the first step towards opening up the number of places where people in self-contained motor homes could stay overnight.
The workshop focussed on what options should come back for further debate. The draft bylaw would then go out for public consultation.
The council backed allowing motor homes weighing less than 3.5 tonnes to freedom camp on residential streets that had marked carparks. Most neighbourhood streets did not have marked carparks.
Council transportation operations manager Martin Parkes said overnight parking was not allowed on highways and busy arterial roads like Cameron Rd. However, he left it to the councillors to decide whether they backed overnight parking within marked carparks on busier collector streets and quiet neighbourhood streets.
He warned opening up city streets without marked carparks could lead to safety issues with visibility and freedom campers parking too close to driveways.
The workshop also backed expanding the number of reserves where freedom camping was permitted, from the existing five reserves and 15 motor homes to the new proposal of 28 reserves and 90 motor homes.
The council opted to allow overnight parking on secondary and local roads in Tauranga's commercial and industrial areas, with restrictions on size or street carpark markings.
Council bylaws monitoring officer Brian Jupp said he was not getting many with complaints about freedom campers.
Motorhome owner and Councillor Terry Molloy said he would have a problem with allowing people to park in the same place for three nights. "We are not providing camping grounds."
Councillor Larry Baldock opposed allowing parking in residential areas, saying most people would be upset to wake up at 5am and see a mobile home outside their house.
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