COLORADO SPRINGS – The effort to extend existing limits on recreational vehicle parking in Colorado Springs is on hold for now.
By a 5-4 vote Tuesday, the Colorado Springs City Council approved a motion to postpone a final vote on the amended ordinance to its March 26 meeting, citing the need to find a solution on how to help people find somewhere to go.
Currently, the ordinance bans the parking of RVs on residential streets for a period of time longer than what’s necessary for loading and unloading.
The amendment comes after an uptick in RV parking across the city in 2018, according to Colorado Springs Police Commissioner Sean Mandel.
He said the focus is not to punish people and impound their vehicles.
“The interest in it is giving them a warning, trying to get some cooperation, and trying to get them other resources where they don’t have to park on our city streets long term,” Mandel said.
Several faith leaders spoke in Tuesday’s meeting, saying it’s the latest attempt at criminalizing homelessness in the city.
They referenced last year’s decision to ban camping within 100 feet of the city’s waterways. Now, as Rev. Ann Steiner Lantz from Ecumenical Social Ministries said, they believe the city is turning its focus to the streets.
“The first step out of homelessness is an RV, and if there is nowhere that they can put that RV, they are back out on the streets,” Lantz said.
But proponents, noting the ordinance already exists for residential streets, call it a health and safety issue impacting the rest of the city.
Councilman Don Knight said it isn’t about targeting a certain group of people. He said the vehicles are dumping harmful waste improperly.
“We are having black water dumped down our stormwater drains. We are in the middle of an EPA lawsuit about our stormwater,” Knight said.
For now, final approval is still on hold thanks to a motion from Councilman David Geislinger. He asked for time to find a solution in helping people that own the vehicles find a new place to go.