LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The city of Lakewood has banned trailer and RV parking on public streets. Restrictions were already in place for residential areas, but the ordinance was amended to include commercial areas. The new rules went into effect Oct. 26.
However, the Lakewood Police Department is not planning to immediately enforce the law.
“We’re going to do a soft start on this. So we are not starting enforcement, even this week,” said Sgt. Jon Alesch with the Lakewood Police Department.
Some RV owners near West Eighth Avenue and Quail Street have already started packing up, however, and are looking for a new place to go.
“We really want to get out of here tonight,” said Anibel Brooks while she and her husband put gas into their RV.
Brooks says she is still not sure where they are going to move.
“They’re saying, ‘OK, everyone with an RV that wants to live in it — just get out of here.’ They didn’t have any suggestions really on where to go — any good suggestions,” Brooks said.
They were given notice of the RV parking ban after the ordinance passed in September. But the Lakewood Police Department says they’re willing to give them a little more time.
“Partially because of the weather, we recognize how hard it is — especially with some of those bigger vehicles — to get them moving,” said Alesch.
They say the earliest they’ll start enforcement is next week.
“The Lakewood Police Department has no interest in towing anyone’s home. That’s not what we want to do. But we always have to balance the needs of the whole community,” Alesch said. “Here, the community has decided that we don’t want these RVs parked on these streets. So we’re going to take a methodical, caring process in this and make sure we can do everything we can before we have to take that step.”
Joseph Kniss, who parked his RV near Eighth and Quail for several years, says he got lucky and found a temporary place to move to Monday morning.
“A guy who runs a store has a nice little slip right next to his building. He said, ‘I don’t care what they say, slide it in here. Until we get complaints, you’re parking here’,” Kniss said.
Lakewood police, along with Family Tree, did outreach last week and are working on finding long-term living solutions for the RV owners.
However, Kniss wishes that would have happened months ago.
“They could have come through here long, long before they changed the ordinance and found what options we need — or something to that effect — rather than changing the rules, without any of us being there as a voice for ourselves,” said Kniss.
Alesch says police will continue with outreach efforts in November.
“We gave it that week, and now we’re going to go back and talk to them again and say, hopefully, ‘Here’s what Family Tree found for you. Here’s the reality of when you do need to be finding another place.’ And eventually, if there’s a vehicle that can’t be moved, we’re probably going to have to tow it,” he said.