October 20, 2006

Long Beach Press Telegram endorses YES on measures C and F to ban street parking

Yes on measures C, F
Lakewood can park the RV flap for good on Election Day.
Article Launched:10/19/2006
Long Beach Press Telegram

Getting Lakewood to let go of the long-standing feud over recreational vehicle and trailer parking is a bit like getting a starved terrier to surrender a London broil. We can hardly imagine Tomorrow's City Today without its best-known battle of yesterday (our apologies to those who want their own school district).

But it's time to curb the RV and trailer issue. Residents have an opportunity to settle a major portion of the exhausting flap by voting yes on measures C and F on the Nov. 7 ballot. We back both.

The measures would offer clarity to the various interpretations of the existing law, which is abused in spirit, if not letter, and, more importantly, get those mammoth RVs and trailers off the streets most of the year while still allowing proper loading and unloading.

The measures are essentially the same, but Measure C regulates RVs while Measure F applies to trailers. The initiatives would ban on-street RV and attached and unattached trailer parking except for limited periods of time. They would require residents to get permits, which would be good for one to three days, up to 16 days a year, for the times they are outfitting their vehicles for trips.

Readying RVs for sojourns would be the only legal reason to park them on the street. This will be a problem, of course, for those who use their RVs as guest rooms, but the practice of suburban camping is incompatible with today's tidy tracts.

Under the new system, Lakewood residents would simply apply for and print out their permits from an online website, providing they have registered their rigs with City Hall. The law would also require three days between permits so residents could load their trailers, leave town for a weekend, come back and unload it.

These new laws would go beyond easy-to-manipulate existing city codes, which allow RV and semi-trailer parking on city streets for up to 72 hours in the same spot. Many owners just move their rigs across the street or down a few feet from their original locations to meet the law.

Neither measure would apply to driveway or backyard parking of RVs or trailers, which are subject to different requirements. We can't see telling people what they can do on their own property as long as they follow existing regulations.

But city streets are another matter. On-street RV parking benefits the few - RV and trailer owners - to the detriment of many. This is the opposite of the utilitarian spirit that pulses through Lakewood.

In addition, the rolling motels detract from the appearance of the city's attractive postwar neighborhoods, which went from good to great in the recent housing boom as residents pulled out equity to make improvements and newcomers came in and made their own fixes.

Streets free of RVs and trailers could certainly do nothing but help property values threatened by a slowing market.

RVs and trailers, when not in use, generally belong in parks and lots made for such uses or out of sight on private property. The arguments to allow RVs to remain on public streets have finally run out of gas.

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