Wednesday, August 01, 2007

California Cities Dragged Into Fights Over RV Parking

Glenn Gilman and his wife have children, but they are grown and have long since moved away. Now it's time for the easy life -- a life meandering around Washington, Oregon and California in their 23-foot RV.

But he and thousands of California RV owners are finding themselves in the middle of a fierce debate over where to park the recreational vehicles. It seems the complaints from non-RV owners are getting louder and more frequent, causing growing numbers of cities to tighten restrictions on where they can be stored. People argue that they are eyesores when on streets and even in driveways -- that they are bulky, unsafe when they stick out onto sidewalks and that they devalue any property that surrounds them.

"Who decides if it looks nice or not?" said Gilman, referring to the debate in Concord, where city officials are looking at revamping the ordinance that governs RV parking.

"I think, 'Jeez, I'm being a good neighbor. I'm not offending my neighbors, and everyone's happy.' Why upset the apple cart?"

In Pittsburg, Naomi Silva, 72, says her street is rife with illegally parked vehicles. Pittsburg does have a complaint-driven ordinance, but Silva wishes it were more strictly enforced.

"There's one RV that hasn't moved in 22 years, the whole time I've been here," she said. "Not only is it blight, but you can't find a parking space.

"I'm sorry," she added, "but I didn't move into a marina. I didn't move into an RV park. I moved into a home. For me, I don't care how nice the vehicle is -- if it's parked on the street, it's got to go."
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