Iowa Widens RV Tax Grab

Owning a recreational vehicle is getting more expensive in Iowa.

tax grab imagesIt’s not that the price to buy a home-on-wheels is going up, but that the state is getting tougher on collecting registration fees.

State legislators tell RVers that since you’re rich, you can pay more. It’s time RVers paid their fair share!

In an earlier story I reported that the Iowa Senate approved a bill intended to prevent tax evaders (their words, not mine) from using out-of-state shell corporations to avoid paying registration fees on million-dollar recreational vehicles and other luxury vehicles.

In a later development this new rule affecting all current and future RVers was inserted in a catch-all bill approved by Iowa legislators.

As reported by The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette, the state has already recovered about $1 million in unpaid tax and registration fees and a law change that went into effect July 1 is expected to channel more revenue into the underfunded state Road Use Tax Fund.

“It’s well worth our time and effort,” Maj. Paul Steier of the Iowa Department of Transportation motor vehicle enforcement unit, said.

Okay, I think I finally get it! It’s a game to wring more and more out of the already overtaxed population. Tax grabs are simply a band aid solution to a larger problem. Could it be possible that the state has a spending problem?

nelson_haha2The DOT and Iowa Department of Revenue are going after Iowans who have established limited liability corporations in Montana to register their RVs there to avoid paying the 5 percent Iowa registration fee on vehicles and annual registration fees.

Montana does not charge sales tax, so it’s become a haven for RVers from numerous states who want to avoid this and other over reaching tax grabs.

We’re talking $5,000 on a $100,000 RV—and that may well be the tipping point for the already overburdened tax payer.

However, that’s a fraction of the penalty if an RV owner is caught registering the motorhome in Montana to avoid the Iowa fees. Steier said the Department of Revenue can slap them with a penalty equal to 75 percent of the purchase price.

John Barnes at the Montana Department of Justice doesn’t know how many Iowa vehicles are registered there because all the information he sees shows Montana addresses. Although Iowa may consider it illegal to register RVs there, Montana considers “it is lawful to establish an LLC for the sole purpose of titling and registering vehicles here.”

However, there are barriers to Iowans setting up sham LLCs to avoid registration fees, said Jeff Engelbart, co-owners and vice president of Lasso E RV Sales at Anamosa.

“I talk to (my customers) about the ramifications of licensing out of state. I just explain that the registration fee is to take care of roads and highways. It’s not like it’s disappearing into the general fund.”

Now try telling that to RVers who bump along I-80 as they across the state.

Iowa is not alone in cracking down on RV fee avoidance (I call it avoiding a tax grab).

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports California and Massachusetts have passed legislation to prevent citizens from taking advantage of Montana’s vehicle registration laws.

Since the mid-2000s, Iowa investigators have been working on their own as well as with colleagues from other states to catch folks trying to avoid the registrations fees, Steier said.

Sometimes it’s as easy as walking around the parking lot at a college football game to check on RVs with Montana license plates. Sometimes it is more difficult.

Once investigators uncover the owner’s true address and build a case, the information is forwarded to the Department of Revenue to collect the fees and penalties.

Old manSteier agrees with Engelbart that most Iowans want to do the right thing (i.e., pay more taxes). He also noted that toward the end of June — just before the new law went into effect, county treasurers reported RV owners coming in to ask about the change and how to be in compliance.

“Word has gotten out,” Steier said. “Hopefully, as time goes on, (we’ll) see fewer of those Montana plates.”

Apparently in Steier’s world it matters little that seniors have worked for upwards of 35 years contributing to the state economy and paying taxes and scrimping and saving in order to enjoy their senior years in the RV of their choice.

Worth Pondering…

In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.
—John Adams

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Iowa Hides RV Registration Fee Tax Grab in Catch-All Bill

In recent stories I reported that the governor of two northern states have declared war on the so-called rich.

nelson_haha2Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota proposed a snowbird tax on residents who live 60 days to just under six months in the state.

Dayton told snowbirds that since you’re rich, you can pay more.

“It’s time snowbirds paid their fair share,” he stated.

In a separate story the Iowa Senate approved a bill intended to prevent tax evaders (their words, not mine) from using out-of-state shell corporations to avoid paying registration fees on million-dollar recreational vehicles and other luxury vehicles.

Iowa Senator Tod Bowman, a Democrat from Maquoketa, said Senate File 364 will make it easier to crack down on those who deliberately evade paying registration fees.

The bill was approved on a 46-2 vote and sent to the House.

In the most recent development this new rule affecting all current and future RVers was inserted in a catch-all bill approved by Iowa legislators.

How will this new tax affect the lifestyle of Iowans? (Source: theveganmom.com)
How will this new tax affect the lifestyle of Iowans? (Source: theveganmom.com)

Bowman says it’s a crackdown on tax evasion, radioiowa.com reported.

“What this will do is close the loophole by addressing a sham or a shell fake (limited liability) corporation specifically being in place in the state of Montana,” Bowman says.

“We’re talking about million-dollar RVs or luxury vehicles that are being registered out-of-state, but they’re being driven in the state of Iowa, they’re maintaining residence in the state of Iowa, but they’re getting through this loophole and not paying their user fee.”

Montana does not charge sales tax, so people around the country have set up corporations in Montana to avoid paying their home state’s sales tax on the purchase of expensive motorhomes. Bowman says some Iowans are using that loophole.

“If you’re talking about a $25,000 vehicle, that might mean $2000, but if you’re talking about a million dollar vehicle, it’s $50,000,” Bowman says.

The proposal that has cleared the legislature makes it a crime for an Iowa resident who does not use their RV to do business for a Montana-based corporation to evade Iowa taxes by registering their motorhome in Montana. Bowman says motorhomes create wear and tear on the state’s roads just like other vehicles and the state sales taxes paid on motorhome purchases help finance road repairs.

“That money goes directly to our Road Use Tax Fund,” Bowman says.

“We all know the need in our Road Use Tax Fund.”

Sales taxes on motor vehicles and state taxes charged on motor fuel are deposited in the state Road Use Tax Fund, but officials say the fund is at least $250 million short of covering the amount of repair and construction needed in Iowa’s road system.

Some states have set up tip lines for residents to call in and report on neighbors who have an RV with Montana plates.

camper-bike-6This motorhome sales tax issue was included in a huge bill that cleared the legislature on its final day. Governor Branstad has the authority to item veto sections of the bill and he routinely refuses to say in advance whether he’ll approve or veto proposals.

The proposed tax grabs by the states of Iowa and Minnesota draw the contrast of what is happening in United States today. Maybe, it’s time to move to Texas!

Worth Pondering…

Even if the majority agrees on an idiotic idea, it is still an idiotic idea.

—Sam Levenson

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Iowa Senate OKs RV Registration Fee Tax Grab

In a recent story I reported that the governor of a northern state has proposed a snowbird tax on residents who live 60 days to just under six months in the state.

Lake Osprey RV Country Club on the Alabama Gulf Coast is a destination Luxury RV Resort designed for high-end RVs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Lake Osprey RV Country Club on the Alabama Gulf Coast is a destination Luxury RV Resort designed for high-end RVs. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota told snowbirds that since you’re rich, you can pay more. “It’s time snowbirds paid their fair share!”

Now another northern state has declared war on the so-called rich.

The Iowa Senate approved a bill intended to prevent tax evaders (their words, not mine) from using out-of-state shell corporations to avoid paying registration fees on million-dollar recreational vehicles and other luxury vehicles.

Sen. Tod Bowman, D-Maquoketa, said violators will face criminal charges and penalties under the legislation, which now goes to the House, according to a report by the Des Moines Register.

He said Senate File 364 will make it easier to crack down on those who deliberately evade paying registration fees. The bill was approved on a 46-2 vote.

Camping in O' Airy Zonie at Catalina State Park near Tucson. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping in O’ Airy Zonie at Catalina State Park near Tucson. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

“These wealthy individuals have decided that they are above the law and don’t need to follow the rules the way the rest of us do,” Bowman said.

“I’m working to shut down this scam.”

According to Iowa law, a person who purchases a vehicle pays a 5% fee for new registration. The fee on a $25,000 car, for example, would be $1,250 while the fee on a $300,000 motorhome would be $15,000.

That money goes to Iowa’s Road Use Tax Fund to pay for the upkeep of our roads and bridges.

Apparently in Sen. Bowman’s world it matters little that seniors have worked for upwards of 35 years contributing to the state economy and paying taxes and scrimping and saving in order to purchase a higher end RV and enjoy their senior years traveling the country in a recreational vehicle.

Bowman said the scam works like this: “A wealthy Iowan purchases, for example, a million-dollar RV. Instead of filing the title in Iowa and paying the new registration fee, they register the vehicle in the name of a shell corporation in the state of Montana. Montana, unlike Iowa, does not charge a fee for new registrations. The scammer maintains their Iowa residency and has no other affiliation with the state of Montana outside the fake corporation. The vehicle is housed here in Iowa and used on our roads.”

Bowman said that since January 2011, the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement Office has referred for collection, investigations involving 36 out-of-state shell businesses created specifically to evade more than $827,000 in fees for new registration, plus Iowa title and annual registration fees.

Camping at Bay Colony RV Resort south of Houston. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Camping at Bay Colony RV Resort south of Houston. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The DOT’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement Office is also investigating another 14 out-of-state shell businesses involving 31 vehicles that owe more than $318,000 in new registration fees to Iowa. In addition, the office has pending investigations on another 60 out-of-state corporations, Bowman said.

Under current law, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) can only issue a $150 simple misdemeanor citation if the scam is detected. The bill would change that starting July 1.

Under the bill, if investigators from Iowa’s Transportation and Revenue departments determine that a vehicle is owned by an out-of-state shell business, they will presume that the Iowan using the vehicle is the real owner and will notify them that they must title and register the vehicle in Iowa within 30 days.

A person who willfully evades payment of the fee for new registration is guilty of fraudulent practice. In addition to any criminal penalty, the person will be assessed a penalty of 75% of the amount of the fee unpaid and required to be paid.

“These scofflaws are stealing millions of dollars needed to pay for Iowa roads. That’s unfair to every Iowan who plays by the rules and relies on our roads and bridges for safe travel,” Bowman said.

The proposed tax grabs by the states of Iowa and Minnesota draw the contrast of what is happening in United States today. Maybe, it’s time to move to Texas!

Worth Pondering…

Even if the majority agrees on an idiotic idea, it is still an idiotic idea.

—Sam Levenson

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2011 National Park Holiday Celebrations

‘Tis the season! From Alaska to Georgia, there are countless holiday activities to enjoy in America’s national parks.

The National Park Foundation and National Park Service kicks-off the holiday season in Washington, D.C.’s President’s Park with the National Christmas Tree Lighting. This annual event can be seen LIVE December 1, beginning with the pre-show at 4:30 pm ET.

In addition to this 89 year-old tradition, the National Park Foundation reveals some of not-to-be-missed holiday festivities for national park visitors around the country this holiday season:

Alaska – Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

December 2, 2011: Join in the holiday cheer with performances by local talent, sing along carols, stories, poems, and refreshments at the Yuletide Christmas Concert in the National Park Service Auditorium.

Colorado – Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site

December 2-3: Witness the joys, pleasures, and pastimes of the 1840s at an isolated trading post with candlelight tours of the fort.

Georgia – Fort Pulaski National Monument

November 27: Fort Pulaski will commemorate the 149th anniversary of the Grand Thanksgiving Fete and Festival of 1862 by recreating the 48th New York Infantry first Thanksgiving in the fort with activities for all ages including foot, sack and wheelbarrow races, demonstrations, and a Civil War garb burlesque parade.

Indiana – Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

December 10: Visitors can take part in Holiday Traditions in the Dunes including activities in four different park locations, tree decorating, and a live performance from Nordic Kids.

Iowa – Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

December 2-4: The birthplace of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States, will host A Christmas Past.

Louisiana – Cane River Creole National Historical Park

December 10: Stop by the Magnolia Plantation Overseer’s house for Christmas crafts and live music by the LaCour Trio. The entire plantation complex will be open for self guided tours.

Missouri – Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

December 3, 10, 17: Enjoy the 2011 Historic Holiday Traditions Weekend Series. The Historical Old Courthouse will feature music and activities that will take place in the rotunda, which will be adorned beautifully with Victorian decorations. Complimentary cookies and juice will be served during all weekend events.

Montana – Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site

December 4: Explore the elegant Kohrs’ family ranch house. It will be decorated to reflect a Victorian Christmas.

Nebraska – Homestead National Monument of America

November 25-December 31: The Winter Festival of Prairie Cultures celebrates the winter traditions of people who lived on the Great Plains during the homesteading era.

New Mexico – Petroglyph National Monument

November 26: Visitors can celebrate the beginning of the 2011 winter season at a Holiday Open House in the Visitor Center. Light holiday refreshments will also be served. A traditional horno oven Pueblo Indian bread baking demonstration will take place.

Let's Go RVing to Petroglyph National Monument. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New York – Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site

November 25-December 21: Visit the Vanderbilt Mansion to view the holiday decorations; or kick off the holiday season at the special Holiday Open House on December 4.

Ohio – Cuyahoga Valley National Park

November 17-December 20: Journey to the North Pole on The Polar Express Children’s Holiday Train. Enjoy hearing a reading of The Polar Express en route to the North Pole. Passengers are encouraged to wear their pajamas. Cookies and hot chocolate are served.

Pennsylvania – Steamtown National Historic Site

November 23, 24, December 1: Join in the merriment and festivities aboard the steam-powered Holiday Express rides to Moscow, Pennsylvania. Enjoy holiday songs, stories, and other fun activities for the children at both the former passenger station and freight depots.

Utah – Golden Spoke National Historic Site

Let's Go RVing to Vanderbilt National Historic Park. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

December 28–30: Visitors can take part in the annual Winter Steam Festival and watch one of their locomotives in action at the same spot where the transcontinental railroad was completed over 142 years ago.

Washington – Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

Friday evenings through mid-December: Visitors take park in a guided lantern tour through the Fur Store, the Counting House, and Bake House. You will learn what activities would have occurred once the sun set at Fort Vancouver

Details

National Parks Service

84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites are protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks.

Website: nps.gov

National Park Foundation

The National Park Foundation is the national charitable partner of the National Park Service.

Website: nationalparks.org

Worth Pondering…

We didn’t inherit the earth; we are borrowing it from our children.

—Native American Proverb

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2011 Top 10 Great Neighborhoods in America

The Great Neighborhoods designation is part of the American Planning Association (APA) Great Places in America program, which began in 2007 and recognizes unique and exemplary streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces each year.

Highland Park, Birmingham, Alabama

Built around swales and ridges at the foot of Red Mountain, picturesque Highland Park continues to attract generation after generation of new residents with its enduring and distinctive public spaces, diversity of uses, University of Alabama’s Birmingham campus, medical facilities, popular businesses, and entertainment districts.

Northbrae, Berkeley, California

Nestled in the rolling foothills amidst outcroppings of volcanic rock, Northbrae stands out for its spectacular vistas of San Francisco Bay, environmentally sensitive design, connections to a unique network of 136 paths and steps crisscrossing Berkeley, and two nearby commercial areas for shopping and entertainment.

Ansley Park, Atlanta, Georgia

Large expanses of lush green parks are the hallmark of this 107-year-old garden suburb, which reflects design principles espoused by Frederick Law Olmsted. The brainchild of attorney and real estate developer Edwin P. Ansley, the 275-acre neighborhood was designed so that no home is more than a 10-minute walk from one of 14 parks, five of which create a continuous link from northeast to southwest.

The Pullman Neighborhood, Chicago, Illinois

The Pullman District was the first model of a planned industrial community in the United States and is designated on the National Register of Historic Places. (Credit: city-data.com)

Pullman’s timeless features have contributed to the renaissance of this handsome former company town. An experiment in industrial order and community planning, the neighborhood features a design that was intelligent in 1880 and “smart” today.

Gold Coast & Hamburg Historic District, Davenport, Iowa

Spectacular vistas, superb architecture, and active residents distinguish the Gold Coast-Hamburg Historic District, among Iowa’s oldest residential neighborhoods. Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River afford unsurpassed views of the water, Davenport’s downtown, and the Illinois side of the Quad Cities. Lining the neighborhood’s streets are some of the city’s largest and most opulent houses, built between 1840 and 1910 by prominent citizens, many of them German.

Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Recognized for its Southern charm, the picturesque Hattiesburg Historic Neighborhood retains many of the bucolic features that helped shape this urban treasure 127 years ago. Streets are lined with mature oaks and crape myrtles.

Dundee-Memorial Park, Omaha, Nebraska

A sense of community is palpable in the Dundee-Memorial Park neighborhood, where residents and merchants have sought National Register status, funded a streetscape plan, restored historic street lamps, and pushed to be declared a neighborhood conservation and enhancement district. A mix of uses, from quaint shops and restaurants to lovely early 20th century homes and inviting parks, infuses the neighborhood with vitality.

German Village, Columbus, Ohio

Unpretentious, renovated houses and cottages stand shoulder to shoulder. Small,

meticulously maintained front yards front tree-lined streets with brick sidewalks and cultivated village planters. German Village has remained true to its mid-19th century history, architecture, and character despite periods of disinvestment, decline, and near ruin.

Swan Lake, Tulsa, Oklahoma

As the name implies, Swan Lake is filled with beautiful swans and a majestic fountain. (Credit: tulsahomeforsale.net)

Replete with swans—real and handcrafted—Swan Lake is an idyllic neighborhood a mile and a half from downtown Tulsa. The neighborhood has made frequent use of the bird as a decorative motif ever since architect Joseph Koberling incorporated a swan into the facade of his French Eclectic-style stone house in 1944.

College Hill, Providence, Rhode Island

College Hill brings the past into the present. Its history reaches back to 1636 as the site of Rhode Island’s first permanent Colonial settlement. Cobblestoned Benefit Street, known as the Mile of History, is lined with 18th, 19th, and 20th century municipal structures, churches, and gracious homes. Two educational institutions—Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)—have contributed to the neighborhood’s vitality and character together with residents and organizations, including the Providence Preservation Society (PPS).

Details

American Planning Association (APA)

The American Planning Association (APA) is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities.

Website: planning.org

Note: This is the second of a three-part series on the American Planning Association (APA) Great Places in America program.

Part 1: 2011 Top 10 Great Public Spaces in America

Part 3: 2011 Top 10 Great Streets in America

Worth Pondering…
This is not another place.

It is THE place.

—Charles Bowden

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2011 Top 10 Great Public Spaces in America

Great Places! You know them when you see them—but how do they become great? All the decisions we make influence the quality of our neighborhoods, streets, and public spaces.

The Great Public Space designation is part of the American Planning Association (APA) Great Places in America program, which began in 2007 and recognizes unique and exemplary streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces each year.

Fairmount Park, Riverside, California

In the 100 years since the Olmsted Brothers wrote their 1911 plan for “worthless land” on the edge of a quarry, Riverside’s flagship Fairmount Park has gone from premier community park to a center of crime and neglect to a recognized example of excellence in urban park planning and plan implementation.

Garden of the Gods Park, Colorado Springs, Colorado

In 1859 surveyor Rufus Cable came upon the inspiring landscape that is now the crown jewel of Colorado Springs’s park system and proclaimed it “a fit place for the gods to assemble.”

Monument Circle, Indianapolis, Indiana

The center of Indianapolis is Monument Circle, a traffic circle at the intersection of Meridian and Market Streets, featuring the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. (Credit: circlecityads.com)

Since 1821 when Alexander Ralston laid out the state’s capital in Indianapolis and located “Circle Street” in the middle of the mile square plot, Monument Circle has served as the literal and figurative center of Indianapolis. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument, designed by Bruno Schmitz of Germany, rests at the center of the Circle. There are striking views of the state capitol building and the city from atop a 231-foot-tall observation tower.

Gray’s Lake Park, Des Moines, Iowa

The 1.9-mile walk around Gray’s Lake is known as “doing the loop,” and for some residents it’s a daily ritual that even prairie grass burns, trail repairs, and flooding won’t stop. The iconic, 1,400-foot-long Kruidenier Trail pedestrian bridge over the lake is the park’s most distinguishing feature.

Rice Park, St. Paul, Minnesota

Rice Park is a counterpoint to its busy surroundings. Its period lamps, statuary, benches, center fountain, and adjacent national landmark buildings lend a European feeling to the space. Trapezoidal in shape with two diagonal walkways, the park serves as a lunch stop, festival grounds, and outdoor sanctuary. Rice Park has undergone far-reaching changes since its establishment in 1849, when Minnesota was still a territory.

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, Nashville, Tennessee

Created to commemorate Tennessee’s 200th anniversary, the 19-acre Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park was planned, designed, and built as a concise reflection of the state’s geography, history, people, and musical legacy. Tuck-Hinton Architects in Nashville designed the park, modeling the former landfill site after the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Fair Park, Dallas, Texas

Fair Park combines City Beautiful Movement planning influences with the country’s largest collection of 1930s Art Deco architecture. “A wonderful place to spend a Saturday afternoon exploring … art and architecture,” says Eddie Hueston, former Fair Park executive general manager. Attractions on its 277 acres include eight museums, six performance facilities, and a major sports stadium.

Maymont, Richmond, Virginia

Maymont is a 100-acre American estate, an extraordinary gift given to the city by James and Sallie Dooley who lived here from 1893 to 1925. Whether strolling in the gardens, touring the mansion or watching river otters play, there is something for everyone to enjoy. (Credit: tripadvisor.com)

This striking Gilded Age mansion is surrounded by 100 acres of undulating lawn, manicured gardens, and an arboretum with 200 species of trees from six continents. Maymont continues as its original owners Major James and Sallie May Dooley intended: an extraordinary gift to Richmond for all to enjoy freely.

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma, Washington

Authors of the park’s original 1911 master plan noted that the area’s vistas were “as beautiful as views over land and water as can be seen in this or foreign lands” and found the mountainscape” toward the great Olympic range with its snow-capped peaks glistening in the sunshine … to be equal to view[s] in Italy and the Mediterranean.”

Milwaukee RiverWalk, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee RiverWalk was planned as a down-to-earth public space where residents could take peaceful walks, dine outdoors, and access the river for fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. It has been more successful than anyone involved with the unique public-private initiative ever imagined.

Details

American Planning Association (APA)

The American Planning Association (APA) is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities.

Website: planning.org

Note: This is the first of a three-part series on the American Planning Association (APA) Great Places in America program.

Part 2: 2011 Top 10 Great Neighborhoods in America

Part 3: 2011 Top 10 Great Streets in America

Worth Pondering…
Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.

—Anon

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Are RV Parking Restrictions out of Control?

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.

In three previous posts I reported on communities in the United States and Canada imposing restrictive rules, regulations, ordinances, and general hassles on owners of recreational vehicles:

Let's Go RVing to Sedona, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

During the past several months other anti-RV bylaws have been discussed and enacted. Below is a sampling.

Cranbrook, British Columbia: The City of Cranbrook reminds residents of the amendment to the Streets and Traffic bylaw, which came into effect in June 2010 and regulates on street parking of recreational vehicles and unattached trailers. The bylaw prohibits parking recreational vehicles and trailers on residential streets between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and prohibits parking unattached trailers on any street at any time, unless in an emergency situation. The bylaw applies to travel trailers, tent trailers, campers, motorhomes as well as boats and boats on trailers. It is recommended that residents continue to find alternate places to leave their RV’s, campers, boats, and trailers when not in use, other than on the street.

“Enforcement of this bylaw is generally complaint driven,” says Deb Girvin, Bylaw Enforcement Officer for the City of Cranbrook.

(Source: Kootenay News Advertiser, August 11, 2011)

Let's Go RVing to Brasstown Bald, Georgia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Douglas, Wyoming: The City of Douglas has passed an ordinance which outlines new regulations for parking in residential areas within city limits. The ordinance defines specific types of vehicles which cannot be parked in front of residential properties for more than three consecutive days during any 30-day period. These vehicles include motor homes, camper trailers, recreational vehicles, boats, horse trailers, and utility trailers. The ordinance also specifies that parked vehicles cannot be used for residential purposes or create a traffic hazard, must be parked next to the registered residence, and easily movable. Vehicles can only be parked on driveways that are a “hard surface or improved for parking,” specifically concrete, asphalt, brick, or gravel.

(Source: Douglas Budget, July 7, 2011)

Richmond, Kentucky: Recreational vehicle parks will be permitted in Richmond, but only in zones where mobile or manufactured homes are allowed, if an ordinance heard on first reading is adopted by the city commission.

Richmond’s zoning code allows mobile homes and mobile home communities only in zones classified as Public or Semi-public and listed on the zoning map by the symbol MP/C.

The new ordinance offers five different definitions and descriptions for RVs. According to the zoning code, mobile homes and RVs would be the only permitted uses in the MP/C zone.

(Source: Richmond (KT) Register)

Great Falls, Montana: The question of whether large recreational vehicles and other larger-than-normal wheeled contraptions should be allowed to park ad infinitum along Great Falls city streets recently surfaced 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.

(Source: Great Falls Tribune)

Let's Go RVing to Mount Washington, New Hampshire. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Keokuk, Iowa: The Keokuk City Council recently passed two ordinances, one dealing with recreational vehicle and trailer parking and the other with tow-aways.

RVs and trailers can still be parked on public streets and in municipal lots from April 1 to October 31, but they cannot be parked in the same place for more than four days, or 96 hours.

The police department is now authorized to have any vehicle, boat, trailer, or combination in violation of the City Code towed away and stored in a designated place. Owners may reclaim their vehicle by paying the towing and storage costs.

(Source: Keokuk Gate City Daily, May 11, 2011)

Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities has reminded all residents of the residential parking restrictions and regulations on Fort Leavenworth streets. Recreational vehicles, boat trailers, trailers, and commercial trucks with exposed storage racks, more than four wheels or exceeding a Gross Combination Weight Rating of 12,000 pounds cannot be parked in the housing areas for extended periods.

RV storage space can be leased from the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Travel Services.

(Source: Fort Leavenworth Lamp, May 12, 2011)

Worth Pondering…
Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.

—Fitzhugh Mullan

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What do Ohio, Tennessee & British Columbia Have in Common? Part 2

America’s State Parks

Lackawanna State Park, Pennsylvania. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Throughout America, state parks are struggling.

These are your parks. Get out and enjoy them.

What do Ohio, Tennessee & British Columbia Have in Common?

Ohio, Tennessee, and British Columbia are among a handful of a few states and Canadian provinces that DO NOT CHARGE ENTRY FEES to their parks. Admission is also free to park users in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Alberta, and Manitoba.

Park fees vary in other jurisdictions. The following is a sampling of day-use fees currently in place:

Alabama          $1-3/person

Arizona           $2-20/vehicle

California        $3-15/vehicle

Colorado         $7-8/vehicle

Connecticut     $9-22/vehicle

Delaware         $3-8/vehicle

Quail Gate State Park, Utah. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Florida             $4/vehicle

Idaho               $5/vehicle

Kansas             $3.70-4.20/vehicle

Massachusetts $2-9/vehicle

Minnesota       $5/vehicle

New Mexico   $5/vehicle

New York       $6-10/vehicle

Montana          $5/vehicle

Ontario            $10.75-19.25/vehicle

Oregon             $5/vehicle; some parks free

Saskatchewan $7/vehicle

Texas               $1-5/person

Utah                $5-10/vehicle

Vermont          $3/person

Wisconsin        $7-10/vehicle

State Park Pass

Shenandonah River State Park, Virginia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The state park entrance pass system works differently in each state. Many states offer some sort of pass that allows for unlimited entry at most state parks, while other offer park passes on a park-by-park basis.

Other State Park News

Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska vetoed a bill that would have increased annual resident permits for state parks and recreation areas from $20 to $25 and nonresident permits from $25 to $30.

Raising fees during these difficult economic times is not the appropriate way to better Nebraska’s state parks, Heineman said in his veto letter. Nebraskans have had to cut their spending, and they expect the same from government, he said.

Details

BC Parks

Washington State Parks

Discovery Pass

The Discovery Pass can be purchased at almost 600 sporting goods stores and other retailers statewide next month. The pass can also be purchased online or by calling 1-866-320-9933. Starting next fall, the state Department of Licensing also plans to sell the pass.

Worth Pondering…
Your travel life has the essence of a dream.

It is something outside the normal, yet you are in it.

It is peopled with characters you have never seen before and in all probability will never see again.

It brings occasional homesickness, and loneliness, and pangs of longing.

But you are like the Vikings or the master mariners of the Elizabethan age, who have gone into a world of adventure, and home is not home until you return.

—Agatha Christie, British mystery writer

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