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As thousands of tourists descended on the Florida Keys for the holidays, Key West – the final destination for many of them – found itself unable to enforce RV parking rules around the island.
Vehicles were allowed to parked in areas clearly designated as no-parking zones, according to the Florida Keys Keynoter.
“The town’s packed with them,” Mayor Jimmy Weekley said on New Year’s Eve. “Everywhere you turn, there are RVs. They’re along the Bridal Path, at Higgs Beach and everywhere else.
“It’s an issue we’ve been dealing with. If they have nowhere to go, it’s hard to tell them to move on. Guess it’s just part of the island’s success.”
Weekley said city police have not been enforcing several “no parking overnight” areas simply because the RVs have nowhere else to park.
“The police do the best job they can, but because of the numbers, it’s difficult, especially when they can’t tell them to go somewhere else. And with Jabour’s (Trailer Court) soon to be gone, there will be even less campground space.
“This time of year, it’s more difficult to enforce because there are just so many in town.”
The city isn’t taking yet steps to stop the problem.
“We try to encourage people not to bring vehicles here, to use public transit and bikes and to walk, but when it comes to RVs, that’s their mode of transportation down here,” Weekley said. “When we don’t have facilities for them and they can’t park in places, what do we do?
“We do need to address it, but how we do it is the question. I think it’s something we need to discuss as a commission.”
Weekley explained that it’s not so much a parking safety issue as it is a health concern.
“Hopefully they go to pump-out facilities to pump out their holding tanks,” he said. “We have facilities available for them to pump out at Boyd’s Campground on Stock Island, and city rules against dumping, so they should at least be pumping out properly.”