RV Parking Rules: A Double Whammy

Rarely a week goes by without a media story about some community somewhere in the United States or Canada imposing restrictive rules, regulations, ordinances, and general hassles on owners of recreational vehicles.

RVers Upset With Walmart Parking Ban

RVers Upset With Walmart Parking Ban

Communities across the United States and Canada are reviewing and in many cases tightening up by-laws that regulate the parking of recreational vehicles. These are the issues that affect all of us RVers—right where we live and where we travel.

These restrictive RV parking ordinances tend to fall into one of two categories: those that directly impacts the home owner who wishes to park their RV either on their own property or on the street in front of their residence or the RVer who is traveling through a community and wishes to stop for a few hours to shop or to overnight in a public area such as Walmart or a truck stop.

Park restrictions on RV owners

Where and when should you be able to park your recreational vehicle at your own home? In your own yard? Along the city street in front of your house?

In previous posts on Vogel Talks RVing I have reported on communities in the United States and Canada imposing restrictive rules, regulations, ordinances, and general hassles on owners of recreational vehicles.

RV parking on private property has become a hot button issue for cities and RVers. For RVers, we’re simply looking for a place to park our RV off-season, during winter, or for any reason really.

For cities, they’re enforcing, however, selectively, ordinances already on the books to fine, tow, and cite those who park their RVs on private property. Why is this selectively enforced across the country?

There are several reasons why cities choose to selectively enforce these RV parking restrictions. For some, it’s a matter of complaints. If the city receives a high amount of complaints about a particular RV, they’re more likely to act. For others, it’s a matter of whether or not officials are driving by, notice a violation, and then issue a citation.

Staying in a Walmart parking lot. (Credit: mybirdie.ca)

Staying in a Walmart parking lot. (Credit: mybirdie.ca)

Many RV owners check with the city before parking their RV on their own property. They look at city zoning ordinances and make sure they’re not in violation. An issue can arise when the official they’ve talked to isn’t up-to-date on the ordinances surrounding RVs parked on private property. Down the line, years later even, RV owners find themselves cited or fined, sometimes worse, even after doing their due diligence and checking on RV ordinances for their city or town.

Then, it becomes a battle of RV owner versus the city. The city is always in the right, according to the law.

While this shouldn’t be an issue RVers have to worry about, it’s something they have to consider when they park their RV on private property they own.

Following are two cases recently played out in the media.

Bossier City, Louisiana

KTBS-TV reports that an ordinance recently passed by Bossier City Council states that residents cannot park their recreational vehicle or boat on the grass in their front or side yard. It also says residents cannot park them in the street if emergency vehicles can’t get around them or it obstructs the view of other drivers. RV owners failing to comply could be looking at a $250 a day fine in Bossier City.

San Diego, California

CBS 8 reports that starting August 1, the city of San Diego will begin enforcing a ban on recreational vehicles and other large vehicles parked on city streets from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.
This ban was first approved by the city council last July, and was recently modified. According to the proposal, violators of the overnight parking ban would be assessed a fine of $100. San Diego residents who own RVs will be able to apply for 24-hour permits for $2 to park on the same block as their home, while preparing for trips.

RV UN-Friendly Communities

Staying in a Walmart parking lot. (Credit: rvonthego.blogspot.com)

Staying in a Walmart parking lot. (Credit: rvonthego.blogspot.com)

Numerous cities in the U.S. and Canada have enacted laws against the overnight parking of RVs in public areas. Unfortunately, this issue receives little, if any, local media coverage since it does not directly impact local citizens. As a result it is extremely difficult to obtain reliable and current information.

The city that keeps coming up again and again as being anti-RV is Flagstaff, Arizona, where no overnight parking is allowed anywhere for any reason. In fact, the Gypsy Journal reports being hassled by the local police for parking on the outside edge of a shopping center parking lot for several hours while eating at a local restaurant and shopping for a few provisions.

Other cities often mentioned in RV forums include Kingman, Arizona, and Billings, Montana.


Worth Pondering…
In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.

—Robert Frost

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