It started with complaints from business owners. People were parking their RVs in front of businesses and even dumping their waste nearby.
After these complaints, the Colorado Springs Police Department went to city council to ask for the authority to ticket these RV owners.
Until now, the city ordinance has only applied to residential streets in the city limits. The city council passed an ordinance Tuesday night that allows CSPD to ticket and eventually impound RVs parked on any public street beyond a reasonable time.
The first ticket costs $25, the second $100, and the third $125. After that, city officers will impound the RV.
“What we are doing, it seems to me, is criminalizing a conduct,” said Councilman Dave Geislinger in the council meeting.
“It’s not a crime; it’s a parking ticket,” responded Commander Sean Mandel with CSPD.
“For persons who are poor enough that cannot afford to live in an apartment, that is de facto punitive,” Geislinger said.
“We are targeting our most vulnerable population,” Councilmember Yolanda Avila said.
“I don’t believe we are targeting anyone with this,” Councilmember Tom Strand said. “This is the best choice, at this time for the community.”
Those living in RVs in the city are pretty upset that the ordinance passed. Jay and Jessica spoke to FOX21 and fear losing their home, yet again.
Jessica and Jay used to live in a tent. They recently bought an old RV, thinking things were looking up.
“This is our home,” Jessica said. “It gives us more shelter from the elements and whatnot.”
“It doesn’t even run yet, but that’s in progress,” Jay said. “It’s scary. To punish [people] for not being good enough, it’s sad, it hurts.”
Councilmember Richard Skorman said ultimately people are dumping waste in storm drains and it’s a public health risk.
“We are not going to be real difficult about this,” Skorman said. “We’ll write tickets. It’ll be like a parking ticket, we will warn people first. We will hopefully be able to try and find another place where they can park, that could be legal. We are also working on that, as a city council, to try and find some safe places for people to park, but when people are affected by it and especially when our streams and stream quality are being affected, we have to act.”
Skorman and the council said they just want to clean up the city.
“Would you rather it look pretty or help your fellow man?” Jessica asked.
The ordinance passed first reading 4-3.
Councilmembers Yolanda Avila, Jill Gaebler, and Dave Geislinger voted against the ordinance.