Monday, January 29, 2018

RV Moves Around Neighborhood Violating 72 Hour Parking Ordinance

The Laurelhurst Blog has received many inquires since November about a tan RV with Connecticut plates that has been parking in different locations around the neighborhood.   

Each time the RV moves to a new location in the neighborhood, it is reported that the RV is in violation of the City's 72-Hour On-Street Parking Ordinance, which states a vehicle is not allowed to be parked on a city street for longer than 72 hours

Neighbors report that the vehicle has only received one "notice" (above) left by the Seattle Police Department and never any tickets.

The "notice" was left on the vehicle on December 5th and stated that the vehicle had not moved since November 30th and that the vehicle needed to be moved by December 8th.

Here are comments received from December until recently:

An RV has been in the neighborhood for several weeks, moving around the neighborhood,  It is clearly violating the 72 hours parking policy, yet it appears the City's Parking Enforcement is not following up after tagging it. Neighbors wonder how an RV is allowed to do this when other cars are ticketed after 72 hours.  
There has been a large Windstream RV parked in the lower Laurelhurst neighborhood for almost a week on the 3600 block of NE 44th Street.  The parking sticker says that it has to be moved within three days. Why does the vehicle get that much time to relocate? Is that standard time frame, even if the vehicle has already not moved for almost a week, and is violating the 72-hour municipal code.  
The vehicle appears to be a living space as there are curtains that are always closed. It has been in front of our house for more than 72 hours.  
While we have compassion for someone that may be needing to use the vehicle as a home, doesn't it still have to follow City parking policies, as we all do?
The RV is now parked on Mary Gates Drive.  Why is it still not being ticketed, when it is parked way way past 72 hours? Are people living a vehicle exempt from the 72 hour parking ordinance?  
We are wondering about the RV that has been parking around the neighborhood, for quite some time. Once it receives a ticket, it moves again. Neighbors have reported it to Parking Enforcement several times and the RV continues to move around the neighborhood. 
It seems the RV only moves when it gets caught. Right now it's on Mary Gates, previously on the 4400 block of 36th Avenue NE. It will likely will stay here again until it is once again tagged.   
We noticed that an RV parked in our area moved on the day a notice, mind you not even a ticket was left on the windshield, which stated it would be towed. I expect it will again show up, but am hoping that is the last we see of it.  
Why hasn't this vehicle ever received a ticket or been towed? SPD has it documented that it has been in the neighborhood since 11/30 according to the orange notice. 
We noticed that the RV has returned to Mary Gates Way, but now a different location on the street.  It really appears as if the RV is moving around as soon as it is noticed, so that it doesn't get towed. But why hasn't it been towed? And why is there no actual ticket ever left?  
The RV has been moving around the neighborhood for months, even though we've heard neighbors have reported it on the Find it, Fix it on-line app, many times.  
The RV doesn't appear to have tabs on the plates. I'm not sure why the Police haven't done more about it especially having no tabs. Are they purposely turning their back on this vehicle, because it is possibly a homeless situation?  
We've seen people in the RV and often times the RV has the motor running for long periods of time.  
The RV has been around for a while, at least 2-3 months.  
I've seen this motor home parked on Mary Gates Drive and also in the area of NE 41st and 41st Avenue NE.  Myself and several neighbors reported it quite some time ago for parking longer than the City's 72 hours parking policy. We saw it had an orange tag placed by Parking Enforcement. It still doesn't move within 72 hours.  Why is the City doing nothing about it, even though it has been reported some time ago? Doesn't everyone have to follow the same rules? 
We reported this to the Laurelhurst Blog and on the City's app, along with some others living in the areas where the RV is moving, and still no action taken by Parking Enforcement. We understand the Laurelhurst Blog is not receiving any concrete information or corresponding parking policy information. Is Parking  Enforcement turning their back on this? 
The City has ordinances in place for good reasons, and parking any vehicles on City streets for long timeframes is not legal.    
Residents in the RV appear to be littering.  Isn't there a fine for that? When will the Police take action? The RV has been parked in front of our house going on 5 days.  It is causing a safety issue by blocking sightlines and getting a clear view of both lanes of traffic going each direction. I ask neighbors to contact Parking Enforcement, use the City's on-line app and report the vehicle. We have compassion for an unfortunate situation that could possibly be happening with those in the RV. We just would appreciate all citizens having to follow City rules. If not, SPD should point out that out or do their job and follow-up with this very long outstanding issue.   
The RV has been parked for quite a number of days, without every moving, near UW student housing, across from the Center for Urban Horticulture.   
We feel for the group that appears to homeless, and hope they are all okay. We just wonder what parking rules apply to this situation and have not been able to receive any information.
A neighbor also sent in this information:

That vehicle is not allowed to park on any street (except in an industrial zone) overnight, regardless if someone is living in it or not. 
Seattle Municipal Code Sec. 11.72.070 – 11.72.070 - Commercial and large size vehicles.  No person shall park a vehicle on any street or alley, except in an Industrial Zone as defined in Title 23, between the hours of midnight and six (6) a.m. if the vehicle is a truck and/or trailer or other conveyance which is over eighty (80) inches wide.

On 12/20, the Laurelhurst Blog Staff sent a detailed email to the City''s Parking Enforcement, with license plate information, neighbor comments, various location of sightings and pictures.
On 12/21, Ross Leonard, Parking Enforcement Supervisor, North 1 District, Seattle Police Department replied:

It appears that you have a bit of a situation going on there. In these instances where the vehicle in question is being used as an abode the Community Police Team (CPT) takes over and applies specific techniques, according to the photo of the orange tag included in your e-mail it was placed there by a CPT Police Officer rather than a Parking Enforcement Officer. I shall refer you to the Media Unit for additional information.
When the Laurelhurst Blog asked for clarifying information regarding the role of the CPT, Ross Leonard replied on 12/28:

Parking Enforcement does not set City policy, that is formulated by City Council ( ) and the Mayor’s Office ( ) . I cannot speak for the CPT as I am not privy to their operating parameters, possibly they would discuss these techniques or activities with you if you ask. I strive to be as informative as I am able and will respond to questions that I am qualified or authorized to speak on.
The Laurelhurst Blog checked the CPT website, of whom Officer Michael Lanz, is the contact for Laurelhurst, which says:

It is their job (CPT) to understand the ongoing problems and concerns of neighbors and businesses."

On 1/4, the Laurelhurst Blog emailed Officer Lanz, asking for assistance with this issue and he never responded. 

On 1/11 Ross Leonard responded when asked about supplying media contact information saying:

Certainly, always ready to assist the public! The following address should get you in contact with them.

The Laurelhurst Blog checked the Twitter page and it did not contain any media contact information, or any contact information.

Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, with the Seattle Police Department's Public Affairs Unit, then emailed the Laurelhurst Blog Staff saying his team handles all media inquiries for Seattle Police and Parking Enforcement.

On 1/12 Jonah responded to the long thread of emails which contained all the details, comments and pictures of the RV saying:

I understand you've reached out to our parking enforcement issue regarding a concern, so I wanted to connect with you and see if there was anything I can do to help. Our officers/PEOs are typically unable to provide statements directly to media outlets due to department policy, but I'd be happy to help if I can.  Can you tell a bit more about the issue at hand?

The Laurelhurst Blog pointed out that all the detailed information was available in the very long thread of emails (of which were all forwarded to him.)

On 1/16 Jonah responded:

If an individual has concerns, I’d recommend they reach out to the city department themselves. (In this case, I thought I’d understood the issue had been resolved but please let me know if that’s not accurate).  I fully support advocacy journalism (I spent half a decade working at The Stranger and running but different city departments have different policies on the books about how staff are able to interact with media. You’re always more than welcome to reach out to me or any other member of my team should you have questions. I certainly want to ensure no one feels like their concerns are being ignored, too.

The Laurelhurst Blog again pointed that the issue was unresolved and all the information needed to assist in his assisting with the long-standing issue was in the email thread. 

Jonah's ensuing responses were:

1/16: I’m happy to assist if I can.  Can you clarify what information you’re still seeking? And which info you received was inaccurate?   
1/17: I’ve seen some of the emails, but if you can tell me a bit more about what you’re looking for I’d be happy to help however I can.  
1/19: I’m not certain I have all the emails and I’d hate to have missed something. If you’re able to briefly summarize what remains unaddressed, that would help. 
1/24: My understanding from talking to Parking Enforcement is the vehicle relocated since your initial inquiry, in compliance with city ordinances. PEOs (Parking Enforcement Officers) have since contacted the RV owner on an additional occasion to remind them of the city’s regulations regarding parking.

The Laurelhurst Blog asked for a link about the "reminder" policy he was referring to. 

On 1/24 Jonah responded:

Parking enforcement and CPT work very closely on issues related to RVs. Please let me know what other goals you have here so we can continue working together on a solution.
The Laurelhurst Blog inquired that if CPT and Parking Enforcement worked together, why couldn't Ross Leonard, who is a Parking Enforcement Supervisor, contacted in December, assist.

On 1/24 Jonah again responded:

I mistyped earlier when I said PEO. Indeed, this was handled by CPT. As I mentioned, they work very closely with the PEOs as there are many complexities in addressing concerns regarding residential vehicles.  
Members of the public can contact the city about specific issues via the Find It Fix It app:  I’ve used it several times myself with great success. 
In the future, please feel free to contact our office directly, rather than the parking and CPT units, with any media-related questions or concerns.

The Laurelhurst Blog responded pointing out that neighbors have used that app reporting the issue and the problem is still ongoing.

The Laurelhurst Blog then wrote a lengthy email to assist Jonah in understanding the issue, even though he had all the information provided in the previous emails.  

The Blog also included these questions: 
  • Why hasn't the RV been issued a ticket?
  • It was reported that the RV was parked for more than 72 hours just recently.  Thus Jonah's information: "My understanding from talking to Parking Enforcement is the vehicle relocated since your initial inquiry, in compliance with city ordinances."
  • What are the "many complexities in addressing concerns regarding a residential vehicle?"
  • Why does it take 2 months to handle this issue?
  • What is the City's policy regarding residential vehicles - are they exempt from the 72 hour parking policy?
  • If not - what is the role of Parking Enforcement - how often do they check on the vehicle?  How often is it tagged? Is this information documented and captured in a database for PE to reference when the media and/or public citizen inquire?  
  • You said "the vehicle relocated since your initial inquiry, in compliance with city ordinances.  PEOs have since contacted the RV owner on an additional occasion to remind them of the city’s regulations regarding parking."  How does the reminder policy work?

On 1/26 Jonah responded:

Thank you for the email. I’m still having a bit of trouble clearly understanding what objective you’re trying to achieve and how our department can assist you at this point.  

In the meantime, I will reiterate a few key points: The CPT and PEOs work closely to address a variety of parking violations throughout the city. In this instance, the RV was tagged with an orange sticker. The sticker is a reminder of city code/regulations on parking, not a citation. The RV, as I mentioned, complied and relocated as required under city code. 

It is not illegal to live in a vehicle. The city continues to work to address community concerns regarding RVs with care and compassion for all parties involved. 
If there are particular issues (waste, noise, etc) you or your readers are seeking to report, I would again strongly recommend the FindItFixIt app. Life-threatening emergencies may, of course, be called in to 911.

On 1/26, it was reported that police were at the RV, when it was parked across from the UW Student Housing on Mary Gates Drive.

The Police report states the time as 12:44pm under the category "MISCELLANEOUS MISDEMEANORS. NUISANCE - MISCHIEF, Suspicious Vehicle, Suspicious Circumstances" with the address of 41st Avenue NE/ NE 41st Street.

Here is contact information for City employees that responded to the Laurelhurst Blog (others were copied) and Officer Michael Lanz, who serves Laurelhurst:


Anonymous said...

The city is littered with these vehicles and Laurel Hurst is now finding out how little the city will do to help except ping pong taxpayers to different agencies. UntIL we get a city responsive to the community this will get nothing but worse until we are like San Francisco

Anonymous said...

That vehicle is not allowed to park on any street (except in an industrial zone) overnight, regardless if someone is living in it or not.

Seattle Municipal Code Sec. 11.72.070 – 11.72.070 - Commercial and large size vehicles.
No person shall park a vehicle on any street or alley, except in an Industrial Zone as defined in Title 23, between the hours of midnight and six (6) a.m. if the vehicle is a truck and/or trailer or other conveyance which is over eighty (80) inches wide.

Unknown said...

The 72-hour and the over 80 in rule are hate laws. People who hate someone else maybe for being homeless use these laws to Target those that they hate. The old saying that there is two sides to a pancake to take the other side into consideration. The city created the housing shortage by giving tax breaks to the wealthiest of persons to further and rich themselves was out requiring them to build / pay for infrastructure.
Now people are living in difficult conditions such as RVs as last resort. Many people w o criminal nor drug history, good people that played by the rules.These people would like to be permitted to live off the street. Right now no other alternative. The city will not permit them to live on any of the vacant land it owns,the city will Not permit any property owner to sponsor them on their own land.Do you really want there last option for a roof taken away from them, only to find them camping unsheltered in the place that their R V was towed from??
What are you, the Coalition of the selfish? Stpp complaining and start helping to solve the problems that force them to live on the Street. If you are just going to complain, report / and stalk them you are the problem bc they have no choice, but you have the power to help them get permitted to live off streets.