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Charlotte County man challenging ordinance banning living in an RV on his property

Posted at 12:54 AM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 00:54:47-05

CHARLOTTE COUNTY — An ordinance is dividing property owners in a Charlotte County neighborhood.

The County says you can’t live in a vehicle on your own property, but people have been doing it for years on one County road, and so far nothing has been done.

In the woods off of Senator Dr. you can spot several campers parked on the land.

Tony Cuomo lives down the street. He said, in addition to being unsightly, it’s a health issue.

"Where are they urinating? Where are they defacating? Where are they going? I never see anybody out here to pump," said Cuomo.

Cuomo said the number of vehicles has grown over the past few years. He’s asking the County to take action.

"I hate to see somebody displaced, taken out of an area, especially if they have nowhere else to go, but the thing is, like any one of us that has a house, we had to go through the procedures, getting a permit," said Cuomo.

After hearing Cuomo’s concerns, we decided to check out one of the campers for ourselves. We actually spoke with the man who lives in one of them.

He said he isn’t going anywhere.

"I’m here because I worked hard for this land. I worked hard for that camper," said Zeke Thomas.

Thomas tells us he’s lived there for the past four years. He said he’s had visits from code enforcement, but he hasn’t budged.

"The ordinance is something that some of these jokers from the County dream up," said Thomas.

As for the concerns about sanitation, he said he’s got it covered.

"The campgrounds, and there’s one up on 41, that will for $5 you can dump it in theirs," said Thomas.

But Cuomo said, when he built his house down the road, he followed the rules. He wants Thomas to do the same.

"If the County would step up and do something. If they’re not supposed to be there, remove them," said Cuomo.

But Thomas said he doesn’t think Cuomo or the County can tell him what to do on his property.

"I don’t think that we so far live in a gestapo area where they can tell somebody that’s completely minding their business they can’t live on their land," said Thomas.

The County tells us it does have an open code enforcement complaint on Thomas’ property, as well as several others that have campers parked on the land.

We checked and the County does have an ordinance in Sec. 3-9-79.1 stating vehicles on your land "Shall not be used for living, sleeping, housekeeping or business purposes."