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Local governments across the country are beginning to force the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, to roll up the welcome mat for overnight RVers.
But California’s Sacramento County has taken the battle to the next level, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Revising an existing ban on overnight parking outside of designated campgrounds, Sacramento County’s new policy is to revoke the business license of any Wal-Mart that allows camping.
Although the county’s new rule went into effect three weeks ago, officials admit it may be hard for busy code-enforcement officers to catch illegal campers.
Wal-Mart has allowed travelers to camp in its parking lots since the first store opened in Rogers, Ark., in 1962, said spokeswoman Suzanne Haney.
The trend has grown over the years, almost spawning its own culture of RVers who “boondock” in Wal-Mart parking lots.
“They’re customers, so we want to serve them as well,” Haney said. “We allow it where we can.”
Richard Maddox, the county’s principal code-enforcement officer, said Wal-Marts “negatively impact the quality of life of neighborhoods where these stores are located when they don’t adhere to county codes. We will carry out the harshest punishments possible if they don’t comply, which is revocation of their business license.”
Bob Pietruszka, himself an RV enthusiast, said his homeowners’ association pressed Sacramento County to curb Wal-Mart camping. A new Wal-Mart opened near his neighborhood in July.
“Hey, I understand. When I’m on the road I get tired, and depending on the size of the vehicle you’re driving, you could be a hazard staying on the road,” said Pietruszka, who has never camped at a Wal-Mart. “But certain people have ruined it for the rest of us” with an attitude of “plug in the generators, crank up the antennas and break out the barbecue.”