Police to start cracking down on illegally-parked RVs, trailers

The days of parking your RV or trailer on the street for weeks are about to come to an end.

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address residents who improperly parked their RVs and trailers on city streets for extended periods of time. Donlevy said an aggressive education campaign coupled with the police department’s tactic of leaving pink notices on the vehicles helped address the problem. The pink notices were typically a warning, and the agency would leave at least three of them before fining the owner of the vehicle. “We had people who kinda did the RV Mambo — three feet up, three feet back, four feet up, three feet back,” Donlevy said of people who received the notices. “And that’s the way that it would go. And I can tell you that…the education that we did was very, very progressive and quite frankly it solved most of the problem that we’ve had in town with people parking the RVs on the street.” Newly-appointed Mayor Bill Biasi disagreed with that sentiment. “We don’t really enforce it,” Biasi said. “I see trailers parked all the time, cobwebs growing off them. I don’t really want our police officers going around looking for that.” Now, Winters police officers will go around looking for that. Less than 24 hours after the comments were raised, Winters Police Chief John Miller said Donlevy approached him with a complaint that the issue of illegally-parked RVs was a concern of the city council. Donlevy directed the agency “to dedicate more effort towards the blight and issues mounting as a result of these vehicles being parked long term,” Miller said in an e-mail with the Express. Miller acknowledged that in the past they’d leave pink — or, he said, whatever color the paper was in their copy machine — notices on vehicles before, and they typically only did that when a resident would complain. Owners could easily dismiss those notices by claiming they hadn’t seen them, he said. Future notices won’t be as easy to dismiss: Miller said the agency will now be using bright green notices that are directly affixed to a vehicle’s window — the kind you have to scrape off inch by inch with a credit card or other flat object. Miller said the new approach wasn’t just because the city manager complained — residents had been complaining about it too. “Since we were reactive only to complaints and not an effective backend system, tagging was few and far between and enforcement even fewer,” Miller said. It became even less effective when the responsibility for identifying and notifying the vehicle owners transferred from the police department to the city’s code enforcement agency. When that happened, “not much was being done, even in response to complaints,” he said. Donlevy, who published a lengthy piece on Facebook on the renewed parking enforcement measures after the Express contacted him for comment, pointed out that there is a permit available for people who want to park their RVs and trailers on city streets for long periods of time. He also clarified that his initial comments about how the citation process “solved most of the problem” was about the education campaign that occurred in tandem with the notification process when it was first enacted years ago. In an e-mail to the Express Monday afternoon, he acknowledged that since their initial education campaign the problem has come back. “My point (was) that public education does help alleviate the issues as it has in the past,” Donlevy said. “That does not mean that the issues don’t reoccur, as this one seemingly has. We are moving forward with a chance to do more education and enforcement if necessary. In almost all other cities, they move straight to enforcement.” In other words, Winters is different because it gives people multiple chances to do the right thing before it hits them with a fine. At least for the time being, that’s a tactic that will remain. Whether or not residents do the RV Mambo this time around, though, remains to be seen.]]>

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