By Krystal Spring/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
Recreational vehicles and trailers left on streets within the city limits of Havre may have to find a new place to park.
The Ordinance Committee of the Havre City Council voted Tuesday night to approve an ordinance banning RVs from parking on city streets. The measure will now be forwarded to the full City Council for its consideration.
The new ordinance prohibits on-street parking for "trailers" - which includes motor homes, flatbed trailers, camper trailers, travel trailers, boat trailers, and horse trailers - year-round.
The ordinance does allow for temporary trailer parking - up to 48 hours - for loading and unloading purposes and tourist parking. Those vehicles not in compliance with the ordinance could be cited and towed, at the owner's expense.
"I think this new ordinance comes up with the proper wording and definitions we've been looking for," Ordinance Committee chair and council member Rick Pierson said Tuesday. "This gives our police force the right tools to be able to enforce the law."
The committee began reviewing the current parking ordinance at the request of Havre Police Chief Mike Barthel. He said the current ordinance is not enforceable. He said it was originally written to prevent transients from taking up residence on the streets of Havre.
The current ordinance states that it is "unlawful to store, park or inhabit" any trailer within the city limits, unless the trailer is determined a bonafide mobile home. The ordinance does not make any specific reference to street parking, Barthel said.
"Right now all trailers within the city limits of Havre are not in compliance with the current ordinance," Barthel said.
Barthel worked with Havre City Attorney Jim Kaze to draft the new parking ordinance.
"What we've done is take our current ordinance and made it enforceable," Barthel said. "This new ordinance really gives us something to work with."
Barthel said the Police Department has received several complaints about RVs parking on city streets. He said half the complaints are safety concerns, and the other half are appearance issues.
"I think we're really addressing the community's safety concerns," council and committee member Tom Farnham said Tuesday.
Barthel said that if the ordinance is adopted, police will use discretion, giving residents adequate time to comply.
"We'll work with people," he said. "It's not like we're going to become ticket happy with this ordinance."
Before the ordinance can be adopted, it must go before the community in a public hearing and be approved by the City Council. The ordinance will be presented to the full council at its regular meeting on Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.