COLORADO SPRINGS – Recreational vehicles featured Monday in a PowerPoint presentation to City Council by Colorado Springs Police are parked just one block from the RJ Montgomery Salvation Army Homeless Shelter and directly adjacent to the City For Champions future soccer stadium site.
The presentation by CSPD Commander Sean Mandel was part of a proposal by police to expand a ban on parking of RVs in the same spot for more than 72 hours to include virtually all streets and alleys in the city, including in areas zoned commercial or industrial. Currently, the restriction only applies to residential areas.
The amended law would allow RVs to be towed and impounded if found in violation of the regulation. Repeat offenders could also be ticketed up to $500. Jail time would not be a punishment option for violators.
A photo slideshow in the PowerPoint presentation showed numerous RVs and campers lined up on the same street and intersection, identifiable as being the same based nearby buildings, but did not identify the location where the photos were taken. News 5 was able to easily find the location, on West Moreno Avenue between Sawatch Street and Sierra Madre Street, one block north of the RJ Montgomery Salvation Army Homeless Shelter.
In his presentation, Commander Mandel cited a “dramatic increase in complaints from citizens” about of RVs parked in non-residential areas of the city. The presentation did not specifically mention homeless people who live in RVs, but did cite illegal dumping and garbage as reasons behind the amended ordinance. “This becomes a quality-of-life issue for people who have to live and work in these areas,” Mandel said.
The street and intersection shown in the photo slideshow also represents the southern boundary of the lot identified as the future site for the Colorado Springs Switchbacks soccer stadium, considered to be a crown jewel of the City For Champions project. “How many laws are they going to make up,” asked homeless RV dweller Chris Scott. “How far are they going to push us from east to west to north to south? We’ve got to have somewhere to go.”
“The focus needs to be on what can we do to bring these people off the streets as opposed to pushing them out of parking along public thoroughfares,” said Councilor David Geisingler.