COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Recreational vehicle parking on all Colorado Springs streets will soon be illegal.
The Colorado Springs City Council voted Tuesday to pass an ordinance that will bar RVs from parking on all public streets or in public areas, strengthening an existing ordinance that bans parking on residential streets.
The ordinance automatically takes effect in two weeks, but the council decided violators won't face fines until June -- providing a grace period to give remaining RV tenants time to find a place to legally park their motor homes, or find other housing.
The ordinance extends citywide a ban that prohibits RVs from parking on residential streets any longer than for "the expeditious loading and unloading of passengers or property."
Starting June 1, first-time offenders will be fined $25. The second fine will be $100, and the third, $125. Four tickets will draw a court summons.
But authorities said they hope enforcement won't be necessary.
"We were able to get many of them to find places to be, or to be reunited with family members," said City Council President Richard Skorman. "So the number right now has dropped from two dozen to maybe six to 10. Now, that will change in the summer and there'll be other people coming through. So this problem isn't going to go away."
KRDO has learned the city and Ecumenical Social Ministries are in discussions with an unnamed owner of a local RV park about offering up to eight spaces for RV owners. However, officials said they need around $40,000 to pay for each owner to rent the spaces, and will also assign case managers to help the owners find the best housing options.
The plan sounds good to Timothy Lovell, who recently purchased an RV and moved here from Missouri.
"I'm on disability, and I just don't make enough money to rent a home -- my own home with my own bathroom," he said. "We use these RVs instead of being on the street or going to a shelter."
Some neighbors say the older, worn-out RVs, the primary focus of the ordinance, are eyesores.
"It sucks that they would be getting fines," said Allison Miezin. "But at the same time, they kind of don't belong there. It's a residential neighborhood."
ESM has spent nearly $4,000 on helping affected owners, including providing eyeglasses to a woman who said they would allow her to drive to her home state of Missouri.
The council was concerned about trash accumulations around the RVs, clogged streets and even the possibility that raw sewage was being dumped into storm drains.
"It's a step, a process," said Sgt Curt Hasling of the police department's Homeless Outreach Team. "Writing citations isn't the answer, but we're doing the best we can to keep the situation under control."
Councilwoman Yolonda Avila voted against the ordinance, saying that it singled out homeless people for factors beyond their control.