Posted 6/23/15 (Tue)
By Kevin Killough
Steve Klevenberg got a bit of a surprise a couple weeks ago when police slapped a $500 ticket on his RV.
“The first thing I did was get into my truck and go down to the police station and complain,” he said.
Klevenberg stores his RV on property outside of town through the winter. During the summer, like a lot of residents, he parks the vehicle on the street by his home in town. Then on his days off, he can load it up right from his house and get on the road as quickly as possible.
Now that the town is swelling with a population that has doubled in the past few years, a lot of people are parking their boats and RVs on the street. The congestion is not just a hassle for residents, it’s causing safety issues.
Since 1999 the city has had an ordinance restricting RV parking on the streets to a 48-hour period, but the police never really enforced it.
As Tioga grows, things are no longer quite as simple. Whether it’s building codes, alcohol licensing, or parking, the city tries to keep order through stricter enforcement. Then yesterday’s common practice becomes today’s infraction.
“The community is growing, which is great. As the community grows, everybody wants to go camping too,” said Mayor Drake McClelland at the last city commission meeting.
Having grown up in Tioga, Klevenberg said he understands that things have changed and the old ways may not fit anymore, but a $500 ticket is a significant expense.
“It would have been nice if they would have gave some notice or something,” he said.
Klevenberg was one of several RV owners who came to the commission meeting to discuss the issue. The commission agreed not to charge for the fines recently issued since not everyone was aware the police would be enforcing the ordinance, but the commissioners said something would need to be done.
“We can’t just ignore this, because a lot of people are kind of taking advantage of it,” said Police Commissioner Ronda Davidson.
She said in some cases people have multiple boats and RVs, which take up large sections of curbside parking in residential areas. In some cases, their neighbors can’t find a place to park their vehicles.
Besides more people trying to park their boats and RVs, increased salaries over the past several years have led many people to buy bigger toys.
There are also safety issues. State law forbids parking RVs near intersections where the view of cross-traffic vehicles is obstructed. According to Police Administrator Jeff Spivey, Tioga police have always enforced the state law.
McClelland mentioned that sometimes people leave pop-outs extended.
“We’re not going to put up with any of that, because you have kids riding in bikes in the streets. It takes one kid not paying attention,” McClelland said.
Residents made various suggestions to the commission on how they could approach it. One resident suggested the city put aside some property to rent out for RV parking. Another resident suggested the city permit RV parking only on one side of the street. Others suggested the 48-hour restriction be increased.
The commission ultimately voted to table the measure and asked people to come up with suggestions for how to address the problem and present these ideas at next month’s commission meeting.
In the meantime, the city will not be enforcing the RV parking ordinance except near intersections or if the RV owner leaves the pop-outs extended.
Davidson asked that people exercise good judgement and be considerate when parking their RVs on the street.
“Remember your neighbors for now and be nice,” she said.