Letter to editor: Unfriendly RV towns

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From reader David Burkebile

Dear Chuck,
I suggest you list RV unfriendly towns on RV Travel. We were staying in Benicia, Calif., for 3 days with my wife’s sister. We were parked in a cul-de-sac and not staying in the rig, but in her condo. In the morning we found a $45 ticket on the window.


Benicia does NOT want any RVs parked on the street, even if you are downtown shopping. They will still issue a ticket according to the police. There are NO signs warning of this regulation, and according to the officer that I spoke to, I was “supposed to know that Benicia has this regulation.” How? Not their problem!

Wish there could be a list warning of this “hospitality.” Thanks!

Hi David,
There are hundreds of such “unfriendly towns” across America. In some cases you wonder why the restrictions are so harsh, yet in others you understand: In some, long lines of old RVs hole up on city streets, often homeless people or the working poor, and the residents just get fed up.

In other towns, RVers or others with large vehicles may park on city streets and in doing so obstruct the view of oncoming traffic.

It’s a very complicated situation, and I don’t know that a directory would do much good or even be fair. Best bet, I suppose, is to ask the police before you park where you question whether you might be breaking the law. —Chuck

Your letters are welcome at editor@rvtravel.com .

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Sheryl L Hudgins

We were visiting some friends in Denton, TX. They live in a gated community, our class c rig was not allowed through the gate. We parked in a nearby shopping center parking lot, locked up and our friends came and got us. We left the rig, alone, overnight there in the parking lot. No problems, but it made us nervious to leave her alone.

Bill

Your host should be familiar with the local laws. When planning the trip, you should ask them if their community or municipality has any particular rules regarding RVs or large vehicles. If they don’t know, they can call the appropriate authorities or do an on-line search, although that can be very tedious. In some places the restrictions are by size, in some places they are seasonal, in some places they apply to private property as well as on street parking. i think a directory would be a great idea, but I am not volunteering.

I know in Ocean City, Maryland you can park oversize vehicles on the street during the off season but not during the summer. In Virginia Beach, Virginia, you can’t sleep or change clothes in a vehicle or “perform any normal household task” in an RV that isn’t in an RV park.

Carson Axtell

I have been watching several YouTube channels by RV and van-life nomads in Europe as well as here in the US, and it has become clear that many European countries are far more relaxed about RVers and vans being parked on public streets. France, in particular, actually invests public money in accommodating the lifestyle by providing free public watering and dump stations liberally scattered throughout their country. Most other countries, especially in the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Balkan countries, are very casual and accepting about vacationers and nomads parking in public areas. There seems to be a much more democratic attitude toward the use of public space in Europe… US NIMBYism?

Richard

Just shows how free our country still is. It’s a shame when you can’t even use what’s supposed to be yours the way you see fit .I guess the government forgot their supposed to be here for the people not the other way around

Mark Strovink

I’m sorry Colorado Springs, CO makes the list as an “unfriendly” town. The police asked the city council for an ordinance that could be enforced to address “concerns that RVs were clogging some streets and were surrounded by trash”. Instead of an RV friendly ordinance limiting parking on city streets to X days per month, we got a ban on RV parking on city streets for longer than “the expeditious loading and unloading of passengers or property.” Don’t try to stop in downtown Colorado Springs for a meal or playing tourist: the parking that handles RVs is on city streets.
https://gazette.com/news/colorado-springs-city-council-approves-rv-parking-ban-enforcement-to/article_d7b34ea8-5015-11e9-b8

Calvin Wing

As a previous commentator has noted historically evil tyrants have turned the power of government from benevolent guidance to
malevolent persecution of those who live outside of their narrow views of how the world should be.
The classic example that haunts every community is the town council/homeowners association where the citizens have allowed individuals who seek power to control those around them and bend them to their will. A Kansas town of 1800 hired a police chief who tried to build a riot squad with automatic weapons, teargas, & riot gear. Fired him but wrote many restrictive laws to control their citizens.
#1 no RVs on private property for more than 7 days.

Dry Creek

I vote to go the other way – a list of RV-Friendly locales!
Just assume if your destination is *not* on the list, they are not RV friendly.
First town on the list for me:
San Jon, New Mexico! Lovely small town with a city park that welcomes overnight RV’ers! No hookups, but lots of level ground, peace and quiet. It’s even just a block off of Historic Ol’ Route 66!

Graybyrd

Spouse & I visited our daughter for a few days in Lakewood, WA. Before driving there in our pickup camper, I did a lengthy and arduous online search of Lakewood city ordinances. I learned that the city prohibits parking any vehicle wider than 80 inches overnight on Lakewood streets. Obviously this eliminates all RVs. We were able to squeeze onto a parking pad inside their fence. No, I didn’t have time to find any Lakewood prohibitions about RV parking on one’s own property, but I suspect there may be one.

KimC

I see laws like these serve only 2 purposes. One, to harass people living in RVs and Two, to extract revenue from people who are passing through. Why not a warning?

JAMES HAMILTON

I think the $45 ticket would be cheaper than some campgrounds in CA! And the RV was right outside, handy, and in view.

Lydia Bishop

I can not find fault with some small and not so small cities unfriendliness toward RV owners. One cannot easily sort out the criminal vagrants from law abiding at a single glance, especially if you have a modest somewhat older rig.

The anti-social RV vagrants have ruined Walmart camping for the normal, RVers.
RV vagrants are a plague on the streets of Seattle and other West Coast cities.

The vagrants are ruining it for everyone.

And RVs parked near corners on city streets do indeed create traffic hazards for other motorists and I agree they should not park on the streets.

Jim

Honestly, I never assume that you can park an RV on the street in any town particularly when I am visiting. Where I lived before full timing you could park your RV in the street for up to 72 hours in front of your house only to load, unload and clean. When I am visiting someone I always park the RV in an RV Park and then go and do my visitations. I guess it’s better to be safe than have to pay a ticket.

Bob p

Your sister-in-law should’ve known about the law, or maybe as so many people do she gets her news from the C*** News Network or is never watching the news because it’s so depressing, the old Ostrich with it’s head in the sand syndrome.

tom

Stay out of stupid States. Deny them your money.

rich

years ago our town council, a good-sized suburb of Chicago, was considering making changes to the ordinance governing when and for how long an RV or boat/trailer could be parked on one’s own property. during the council discussion our then mayor actually posed the following question to the city attorney: could the ordinance be worded in such a way as to prohibit ANY RV from entering the town for ANY reason? in the end that went nowhere but many of us were wondering what the roadblock checkpoints would look like on the two state highways that run through town.

Robert Cummings

I think an unfriendly town list is a great idea. It would at least give people a heads-up to do further investigation. How many of us read every town’s ordinances to see if we are going to violate somme stupid rule?