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Lakewood bans RV parking on city streets

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- The Lakewood City Council voted unanimously this week to major changes regarding recreational vehicles, citing concerns over trash, sewage, and safety.

Beginning Oct. 26, RVs will no longer be allowed to park on public streets, except on special occasions where people are loading or unloading outside private property.

It's a major blow to people like Joseph Kniss, who's been living in his RV near 8th and Quail for the past six months.

"I found this place, it's been kind of comfy, peaceful, quiet," he says. "It's a difficult situation that I'm trying to make the best of."

Kniss says campgrounds in the area cost close to $800 a month, which he can't afford.

"$800 should get me a bedroom, a bathroom, and perhaps even a maid," he joked. "My cost of living with insurance, gasoline, and propane, is around $250 a month."

Kniss runs a metal recycling business, and is known as 'Joe Scrapper', and says his connections in Lakewood make living elsewhere difficult.

"I'm not sure where I'm going to end up going. I'm not sure," he says.

City spokesperson Stacie Oulton sent the following statement regarding the change.

Parking of recreational vehicles and travel trailers is no longer allowed on city streets in commercial areas of the city, under a change that Lakewood City Council approved this week.

The city received a range of complaints about these vehicles parking in commercial areas including the dumping of litter, sewage and other debris on city streets. This change addresses the community’s concerns about the health and safety of our streets, and it gives the city an enforcement mechanism that wasn’t previously available under the city’s laws.

At the same time, the city will be working with those who may be living in recreational vehicles in these areas to connect them with a local nonprofit that can assist with finding stable housing. Lakewood also has added two navigator positions in the proposed 2020 budget to work with those facing homelessness or housing challenges to help them navigate those issues.

No changes, however, have been made to RV or travel trailer parking on city streets in residential areas. Owners of those vehicles can park them on city streets in front their homes for 48 hours to load and unload the vehicles. After 48 hours, those vehicles must be moved from the street and parked on private property.

The new law for the commercial or other nonresidential areas of the city will become effective on Oct. 26, and city staff will first spend time educating owners of these vehicles about the change before issuing warnings or citations.

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