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The Nevada Senate’s Government Affairs Committee considered a bill late last month that would have directed cities and counties to ban the practice of “boondocking,” the term applied to RVers staying in the parking lots of large retailers like Wal-Mart that condone the stopovers.
But, according to a report in the Nevada Appeal, committee Chairman Warren Hardy, R-Las Vegas, said it won’t get any further.
“That’s a local government issue,” Hardy said. “I don’t think the state should be involved in it.”
The bill was suggested by Sen. Dean Rhodes, R-Tuscarora, who said he’d received complaints about the practice from RV park owners in Elko and Winnemucca, as well as one or two from residents who complained of campers dumping dirty water in parking lots.
“It’s a fairness issue,” said Kurt Lepire, owner of Camp N Town RV Park on North Carson Street. “I have to have water, sewer, licenses, have the health inspector come out. They don’t have to have any of that.”
To RV owners, however, Wal-Marts and Sam’s Clubs are a sign of relief when the sun starts setting after several hours behind the wheel. Often, such travelers don’t want or need the amenities park owners provide. They just want a place to bed down or take a rest for a few hours before getting back on the road.
Truck drivers can do it; they’re even mandated by law to. Car drivers can do it. So, RV enthusiasts say, why should motorhome and trailer dwellers be the only ones who can’t pull into a parking lot for some shuteye without paying for it?
“RVs ought to be able to park anywhere, as long as it’s lawful and safe,” said K.W. Stephens, president of the National Recreational Vehicle Owners Club.
Lepire, for one, doesn’t mind someone pulling into a Wal-Mart for a couple hours here and there. But when they stay overnight, he said, it’s akin to the store putting up mobile homes in their lots, so traveling customers won’t have to rent a room.
“Don’t you think hotel owners would be upset then?”
Last week, Carson City compromised, putting a 72-hour limit on parking in commercial lots and setting rules on what kind of signs and parking stalls stores must have to accommodate overnight stays.