Known as a big-box retail store that has something for just about everyone, Walmart has also garnered a reputation for being friendly to the traveling camper.
But, RVers hoping to stay in the Carlisle, Pa., Walmart parking lot for an extended period of time can expect to be turned away. Or, ticketed and towed.
According to a report by The Sentinel, the store has installed large signs at the entrance of the lot reminding customers that overnight parking for RVs or trucks is prohibited. Carlisle Police Lt. Michael Dzezinski said the rules have been in place for a long time.
“This parking enforcement isn’t anything new,” he said. “The property owners have asked us to enforce these parking regulations for RVs and tractor trailers for several years, and we’ve done so when time permitted or a complaint was received. As such, there are signs posted in each entrance to the lot that advise motorist of the parking restrictions.”
Further, Dzezinski said, enforcement actions typically involve tractor trailers that aren’t making deliveries to stores within the complex, as well as RVs that are attempting to occupy the parking lot overnight.
A spokesperson for the local store could not immediately be reached.
However, a message posted on the chain’s corporate website said, “While we do not offer electrical service or accommodations typically necessary for RV customers, Walmart values RV travelers and considers them among our best customers. Consequently, we do permit RV parking on our store parking lots as we are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. Please contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.”
One Walmart location that has a no-camping policy resulted in a $1.2 million RV being towed earlier this year at one of the stores near Chicago.
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Motorhome and RV owners in Port Moody, British Columbia, are getting a reprieve this summer, and it has nothing to do with the cool weather.
Coquitlam Now reported that after enacting a bylaw earlier this year that put restrictions on the length of time large vehicles could be parked on city streets, politicians have voted to strike down a portion of the new rules.
While commercial and oversized vehicles are still only allowed to park on streets for a maximum of 48 hours, RVs, trailers and motorhomes can stay parked indefinitely.
The bylaw was originally enacted because the city receives a number of complaints from residents regarding parking each month.
Since the bylaw took effect in March, the city has enforced it on a complaint basis, handling just 25 complaints regarding nine vehicles. But after receiving feedback from RV owners who argued the bylaw was too onerous, council decided to make a change.
Councilman Gerry Nuttall, who noted he owns a travel trailer, said the bylaw didn’t address issues like people visiting family or friends who might be staying longer than two days, or the time it takes RV owners to prep or winterize their vehicles. Council asked staff to review the bylaw next year after more data is collected.
Not all councilmen wanted to see the bylaw change. Rick Glumac voted against it, citing concerns over safety, specifically over RVs blocking drivers’ views.
Using a camper as a home in Williston, N.D., could soon become illegal, but it’s unclear where the town’s hundreds of RV residents would park themselves.
The Jamestown Sun reported that many of the RVs are occupied by construction workers who are building permanent housing in Williston to help remedy a housing shortage as a result of the area’s oil boom.
Members of the City Commission have approved the first reading of an ordinance that makes it illegal to live in a camper in city limits unless it is in an RV park. They’re discussing making it a Class B misdemeanor, subject to a $500 fine.
“We have been inundated with people coming here with no place to live,” Williston Mayor Ward Koeser said during a commission meeting.
Williston Police Chief James Lokken estimates there are 300 to 400 campers in parking lots, yards, driveways and other areas throughout town that would be illegal under the new ordinance.
City Commissioner Tate Cymbaluk said the campers are posing health and safety risks to the community. The RVs are already “out of control” and commissioners fear that it’s only going to get worse as the construction season gets under way, he said.
“Our intent is not to just kick people out,” Cymbaluk said. “Our intent is to get some control.”
Palmer Reising, who lives in an RV just outside of Williston city limits, called the ordinance “pointless” and said people are going to disregard it because they don’t have another option.
“People will continue to come. They’re going to flock to Williston and they’re going to park their motorhomes wherever they can find a place,” said Reising, an oilfield shop manager from Cincinnati. “You may as well outlaw boots in Williston. Nothing is going to happen. People are going to keep doing it.”
Commissioners will consider the second reading of the ordinance in two weeks. Cymbaluk said they would likely postpone the effective date of the ordinance.
New RV parks that would add several hundred RV spots are being developed, but it’s unknown if there will be enough to meet the need, Cymbaluk said.
By mid-summer, council should have an idea of how Maple Ridge, British Columbia, residents feel about recreational vehicles and where they should be parked.
The Maple Ridge News reported that district staff will distill comments from Wednesday’s (June 29) open house, put them all into a report, then let council make the decision, likely in the fall.
RV regulation was a burning issue this spring after one resident filed more than 100 complaints about improperly parked RVs, creating an avalanche of complaints and leading staff to issue relocation orders for some of the RVs.
Residents were given four concepts to comment on during the open house in municipal hall.
• Concept A would allow any size RV to be stored on a residential lot, providing it fits completely within property lines.
• Concept B proposed the same thing, with one condition: all RVs be set back from the property line, to give neighbors breathing space.
• Concept C says only vehicles up to 25 feet long can be parked in front yards and those larger have to go in the back or along the side of a house. The district’s current bylaw bans RVs larger than 25 feet long.
• Concept D limits vehicles longer than 25 feet to either the side or back of the lot, allowing RVs shorter than that in the front and requiring setbacks from property lines all the way around.
The district also wanted feedback on new rules for taking complaints from people on bylaw infractions.
It suggested that in an urban area, people could only be able to complain about something if their house was within a 328-foot radius of whatever was bugging them. In rural areas, that distance would be 1,312 feet. It also proposed limiting to three the number of complaints a resident can make within a year.
The current RV controversy resulted in bylaws issuing removal orders for some RVs, but enforcement action has been suspended while the review is underway.
Currently, there’s no limit on the number of licensed vehicles on a property, while only two unlicensed vehicles can be stored on a property.
What a year so far.
The Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune reports 2011 has witnessed:
- Horrific tornadoes in the South that have claimed 337 lives.
- The location and killing, after almost 10 years of searching, of Osama bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
- Major economic dislocations nationally as the recovery continues to operate without creating a lot of new jobs.
- Congressional wrangling over huge federal deficits and what should be done about them.
- The launching of a dozen presidential campaigns as Republicans line up to take advantage of the momentum created by the 2010 elections.
- Closer to home, a legislative session that saw large and loud debates over issues including gun ownership, abortion, state budgets and pay levels, medicinal marijuana, workers’ compensation reforms, and eminent domain.
With the backdrop of all of these momentous news stories and political issues, it’s refreshing to encounter the smaller issues that have been taking up the City Commission’s time lately — and probably for some time to come.
It started with the king of all hyperlocal issues: whether it’s OK to raise a few chickens in a yard in the middle of the city.
We’ve written much about that, and resolution of the issue is yet to be hatched.
Running through winter and spring has been a continuing murmur of dissatisfaction with the condition of the city’s streets — a near-record winter of snow and repeated freezing-and-thawing cycles yielded a bumper crop of potholes, which has local and state workers hopping to repair them.
Now comes the question of whether large recreational vehicles and other larger-than-normal wheeled contraptions should be allowed to park ad infinitum along city streets.
The issue surfaced last week at a commission work session when Deputy City Manager Jennifer Reichelt showed commissioners a draft ordinance that would restrict such parking.
The draft is the result of urging from neighborhood councils and the overarching Council of Councils.
“Obviously, it is going to be a contentious issue,” Reichelt told the commissioners. And she made sure to clarify: “This is not a personal agenda that I have, or even that staff has.”
So, bring on the debate!
It seems like an issue on which there should be considerable middle ground — possibly including ground somewhere in the city where the big rigs could be stowed when not in use.
From our decades of motoring, biking and running around the Electric City, a few things suggest themselves to us:
- There are RVs and there are RVs. A pickup with a camper on it doesn’t create the same esthetic and safety problems as a bus-size behemoth.
- Rigs near intersections cause different problems than rigs in the middle of a block.
- Some streets are wider and more passable than others, and some through streets are more important as thoroughfares than others (the one-ways come immediately to mind).
- And there are some things — we called them contraptions above — that have no business parked on through streets and in poorly lit areas. An example that comes readily to mind are the low-sitting, sometimes-reflectorless flatbed trailers, many of which are wider than regular passenger vehicles. They’re hazards because they protrude and they’re often not very visible — the opposite of big RVs whose obstructive visibility itself is the problem.
Commissioners have their work cut out for them on this issue. Residents with concerns about it should pay attention to City Commission agendas in the coming weeks and make their opinions known.
In the meantime, you’ve gotta love these local issues — they’re the ones that actually affect all of us, right where we live.
The following press release was issued by Muay Thai Travel Guide the city of Concord, Calif., a city of more than 120,000 just east of San Francisco. The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
The city of Concord has prevailed in a lawsuit filed by resident James Disney challenging the constitutionality of an ordinance adopted by the City Council to regulate the parking and storage of recreational vehicles in residential neighborhoods.
The city initially prevailed at the trial court level, and the California Court of Appeal has affirmed the decision upholding the validity of the ordinance as a valid exercise of the City’s police power authority to establish land use regulations promoting traffic safety and the attractive appearance of residential neighborhoods within the Concord community.
The city’s recreational vehicle parking ordinance was adopted in 2008 after residents expressed concern about the potential blighting influence which could result from the number and location of recreational vehicles parked at private residences within Concord. The specific regulations were the product of an extensive community outreach effort and numerous public meetings involving a Citizens Task Force, the Planning Commission and the City Council.
Among other things, the ordinance prohibits storage of recreational vehicles (including motorhomes, travel trailers and boats) on front yards and driveways. However, it includes a grandfather provision which allowed existing RV owners to apply for a permit to continue to store one vehicle on a driveway or parking pad for as long as the owner still owns or occupies the property. The ordinance contains other detailed provisions restricting RV parking, designed to protect traffic safety and neighborhood aesthetics.
“The Court of Appeal correctly recognized that the City Council has the authority under its police power to adopt reasonable regulations to protect public safety and preserve the attractive appearance of Concord’s residential neighborhoods,” said City Attorney Craig Labadie.
Attorneys for Santa Barbara, Calif., RV dwellers want a Superior Court Judge to throw out a settlement they made with the City in 2007, because, they say, the city isn’t honoring its terms, the Santa Barbara Independent reported.
Specifically, they argue that the city promised to prohibit RV parking at night, and during the day, in limited areas only—essentially between the 101 Freeway and the beach. Yet, in the last two years, “No RV Parking” signs have been sprouting up all over town, effectively discriminating against an entire class of vehicles and the people who live in them.
“Our position is the city did not honor the settlement,” said Joe Allen, one of two lawyers for the nonprofit group, Homes on Wheels (HOW).
The motion wants the 2007 settlement vacated and HOW’s original lawsuit reinstated. A hearing is scheduled for April 7.
In early 2003, the city passed an ordinance making it illegal to park an RV on any street in Santa Barbara overnight and for no more than two hours at a time during the day. Allen, and The Legal Project’s Glen Mowrer, challenged the law on behalf of HOW. The settlement they ultimately reached with the city was to have allowed RVs be prohibited at night in the waterfront, but allowed in other areas above the 101.
In 2009, when the city’s RV ordinance was updated, it gave the Public Works Department authority to post “No RV Parking” signs on any street that was within 500 feet of a school, a park, a hospital, a church or a handful of other locations. Browning Allen, transportation manager for the City Public Works Department, said such postings would only be considered when a number of RVs were congregating on a block and if someone complained.
“We get a request, then the police department will take a look,” said Allen. After that, his department evaluates whether the particular RVs are within 500 feet of one of the prohibited locations and if they are indeed causing a problem.
“For some of the areas where were having RVs parked, they were doing things that weren’t appropriate for our community,” said Browning, alluding to drug dealing and prostitution. Then he added, “We got a lot of RVs in town and not everyone is doing something that is a problem.”
As of September 2009, 136 “No RV Parking” signs had been posted around the city.
Nancy McCradie is one of HOW’s three original founders. She lived in an RV with her husband, “Protest” Bob Hanson, for decades.
“Everywhere that people park, or have been parking two or three (at a time), a sign goes up,” she said. What happens is, someone finds a spot, then another RV comes and parks there too, because nighttime spots are rare, and also because RV dwellers have something of a community. But as soon as more than one vehicle is located on a street, it draws the attention of city Transportation officials, McCradie said.
Hammett, 42, lives in an RV, which he parks on a street bordering the freeway. He’s legal there during the day, he said, but at night he drives to a private lot, where the owner is nice enough to let him stay.
“I’ve not gotten tickets, I’ve gotten warnings,” said Hammett. “At odd hours, (police) asked me to move on.”
“To selectively say that RVs are somehow harming the community, whereas monstrous buses or four-wheel tractor trailers aren’t, it makes one suspect that this is an attack against the poor who have no housing,” said Mowrer.
Between 120 and 140 vehicle dwellers are now participating in the New Beginnings’ Safe Parking Program, according to Nancy Kapp, who is one of its two managers. The program lets vehicle dwellers park in designated parking lots around the city and county. Some are public, some are privately offered by churches and business. But vehicle dwellers must to leave their lots by 7 a.m.
But for some people, even having to move a vehicle around the block is a stretch, Kapp said.
“You got to understand, these people are homeless. A lot of them don’t have money for gas.”
The city council in Carlsbad, Calif., voted unanimously on Tuesday (March 8) to prohibit RVs and other oversized vehicles from parking on a stretch of Carlsbad Boulevard along the oceanfront during the summer.
The ban will prohibit vehicles more than 22 feet long, 7 feet high or 7 feet wide from parking along a 2 -1/2 mile strip of Carlsbad Boulevard from Redwood Avenue to Cherry Avenue and will be in effect from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
Some residents at the meeting argued the ban would encourage RVs to park on residential streets nearby.
City councilors said they were responding to perennial complaints from summer beach visitors that RVs park in the morning and occupy spaces for the rest of the day. Councilors said there was plenty of alternate parking for RVs farther south. Carlsbad has about six miles of coastline total.
“We’re not taking away all RV parking, just etching out a couple blocks for other visitors,” said Councilman Keith Blackburn.
Amid outrage over RV dwellers allegedly dumping raw sewage on the streets of Venice, the Los Angeles City Council will consider calling for an “urgency ordinance” today (Sept. 22) that would prevent oversize vehicles from parking overnight at certain locations, the Daily Breeze reported.
Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes Venice, called for prohibiting or limiting the parking of oversize vehicles on the area bounded on the east by Lincoln Boulevard, on the south by the Los Angeles County line, on the west by Ocean Front Walk, and on the north by the border with the city of Santa Monica.
He said the restrictions should kick in between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
“Venice Beach is a residential area consisting of single- and multi-family homes with inadequate parking,” Rosendahl said. “This is a problem exacerbated by the parking of oversized vehicles resulting in the inability of residents to find parking on their blocks as well as other issues adversely impacting their quality of life.”
The California Coastal Commission has twice denied the city’s attempts to establish resident-only “overnight parking districts” in Venice.
The council responded by passing an ordinance prohibiting vehicles of a certain size from parking overnight in Venice. Such a law does not require commission approval.
Tensions boiled over this month when it took activists several days to get city officials to summon cleanup crews to three Venice intersections where raw sewage had been dumped.
Venice residents are currently circulating petitions to ban oversized vehicles from parking on their specific blocks overnight.
While some beach areas are set up to accommodate RVs — such as Dockweiler State Beach, where overnight camping is allowed and holding tank pump-out stations are available — Venice is not.
Supporters of special parking lots in Venice, Calif., where RV dwellers would be able to stay overnight issued an “action alert” Monday (Aug. 16), calling out opponents for allegedly disseminating “propaganda” regarding the issue, the LA Weekly reported.
“Most outrageous have been claims of increased crimes such as arson, prostitution, drug sales, home invasion burglaries and even murder perpetrated by people in RV’s,” states the alert by the Venice Action Alliance. “The LAPD acknowledges that there has never been one shred of evidence to support these claims. To the contrary, an RV-dweller was the person who identified the Venice arson suspect to the LAPD.”
The city’s “Streets to Homes” program is a go, with Councilman Bill Rosendahl funding it to the tune of $750,000. The idea is to allow RV dwellers in his Westside district, specifically Venice, to park overnight in specified lots. Officials hope to have the program off the ground in late fall.
Opponents have been hammering the concept, saying that such rig-dwellers often bring crime, drugs and even prostitution with them wherever they go — and that putting them in lots near residential neighborhoods overnight is not going to solve the problems they create.
Indeed, the city of Los Angeles officially deems the RV issue in Venice “blight,” at least according to a recent filing by the city attorney’s office that seeks to overturn the California Coastal Commission’s denial of residential permit parking for Venice.
But proponents of “Streets to Homes” say it’s a humane way to retain and eventually house people who have a stake in the community without sweeping them under the rug.