Several RVs are parked on undeveloped lots in Mackay, and Mayor Wayne Olsen says if city officials don’t keep an eye them, they run the risk of turning Mackay into a “mobile home city.”

Several years ago Mackay council members improperly issued permits for people to park their RVs indefinitely on undeveloped lots they own. That went against the city ordinance at the time, he said. Allowing people to live in RVs parked on undeveloped land removes the incentive to develop the lot, Olsen believes. If someone instead built a house on a lot, the owner would pay taxes, some of which go to the city. And, he thinks often those lots turn into eyesores.

After Olsen joined the council and subsequently became mayor in 2014, city officials have clarified RV parking rules. The current city ordinance, adopted in 2014, states RVs are allowed only in designated spots. However, because some Mackay residents believed the people who had already set up their RVs on undeveloped lots should be allowed to stay, Olsen said City Council members amended the ordinance to allow for nonconforming use permits to be issued. That action affected 13 lots, he said. Property owners can live in RVs on those 13 lots as long as they follow the rules. Those rules include having the RV hooked up to sewer and water, maintaining the property, limiting guest stays to 14 days and allowing only one RV per lot for an extended time.

At the Feb. 9 council meeting, Olsen reported that people violating the ordinance were recently notified by mail of the new rules and the need for new permits.

The rules on guest stays and the number of RVs allowed on a lot have caused some issues, Olsen said. One of the lots, located on U.S. Highway 93 across from Mackay Lumber Company, has had up to four RVs parked there at one time, the mayor said. That raises safety and sanitation concerns and becomes an eyesore, Olsen said.