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Huge Overnight Parking Loophole Possibly Created in Urban Camping Ban Amendment

In Aurora, Colo., Mayor Mike Coffman and the city council may create a substantial overnight parking loophole with their urban camping ban amendment. 

While the law is aimed at homeless camps in the city, the language seems open to interpretation when it comes to RVers, especially full-time travelers (who could be considered homeless on paper).

According to The Denver Gazette, “The ban would prohibit all urban camping on private and public property within Aurora. It also requires a 72-hour notice before an unauthorized camp is shut down…”

The Possible Overnight Parking Loophole

Please understand that we’re not lawyers and we’re not offering legal advice. Instead, we’re RVers and travelers that identify crossover-language.

Urban camping is seemingly defined by location, not shelter type.

Van, cars, and RVs can easily partake in urban camping on private and public property. It may not be legal, but it’s theoretically possible.

And, if the new amendment requires the city of Aurora to give a 72-hour notice, it could be hard to enforce the removal of a single night of overnight parking, depending on the final text of the amendment. 

The 72-hour notice may act as a blanket-protection that overlaps with RVers & van campers on some level.

We searched the city’s website for the exact text of the original article and amendment but could not find it. We guess it takes a little while to update the site with new text.

Our government website search bore other fruits, however.

Aurora Treatment of RV Street Parking

To our surprise, the city has seemingly lax laws regarding RV street parking. Here’s the full text for the nerds.

Basically, the city defines what an RV is (“a vehicle designed to be used primarily for recreational, camping, travel or seasonal use that either has its own motor power or is or can be mounted on or towed by another vehicle”), and proceeds to open up a lot of parking flexibility.

The article states, “No recreational vehicle shall be parked for a length of time in excess of five days on a right-of-way.”

To our lawyerless brains, it reads, “parking for four days in a street spot is legit.”

There may be an article or amendment that says you can’t sleep in said RV, but again, we couldn’t find that language using the city website search feature.

Furthermore, this is where the new amendment could potentially offer a grace period for sleeping in a street-parked RV.

Depending on the definition of “urban camp,” it seems like the 72-hour notice would act as a blanket protection for overnight parking.

This exemplifies the potential loophole we’re talking about.

Taking this thought-experiment to the extreme: if the city excludes vehicular shelters from their definition of “camp” and doesn’t allow sleeping in a parked RV, you could theoretically park your RV street-side and sleep outside of it in a tent. You’ll likely get a visit from the police, but a 72-hour notice may be the only repercussion.

Yes, that’s one hell of a stretched loophole, but it’s a fun brain exercise.

PRO TIP: Here are the 7 Deadly Sins of Overnight Parking

Aerial View of Denver Suburb of Aurora, Colorado

Cities Across America

We’re spotlighting Aurora because there’s a lot of press around this specific amendment. Still, it isn’t unusual for cities across the USA to have cobbled-together bills that allow for wiggle room, unintentional or not.

We’re not advocating for RVers to abuse city codes. And, we’re indeed not offering legal advice.

But, as RVers who’ve taken part in urban camping, we’ve discovered that the nuanced language of laws can hurt or help our overnight parking ability.

If the city of Aurora is listening, keep RVers in mind when finalizing this amendment. Whether you want to encourage RV tourism or close potential loopholes, 10,000,000 RV owners in America are ready to explore.

To our readers, we encourage you to read the city’s code and explore the search feature on the site. In fact, almost all communities have this function on their websites. Always perform your own extensive research if you plan on parking in any USA urban area.

You can nerd out and find some hidden-gem communities that allow overnight RV parking on their streets.

Tell us what you think in the comments!

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  1. Jerry M Minchey says:

    The clause, “a vehicle designed to be used primarily for recreational, camping, travel or seasonal use” may open up another loophole.

    Who is to say that your motorhome or camper was not designed for full-time living–especially after you changed the designed and added some features, like more batteries, etc.

  2. Bob says:

    Fortunately for me I prefer to avoid cities. 🙂

  3. Gwenn Schlottmann says:

    No parking on public or private would technically rule out parking in RV parks also.

  4. Curt says:

    I like that they are trying to allow camping by real rv tourists. Home owners should also be protected from the threats of ugly dirty poor people living for free where they struggled and sacrificed to live. Maybe a camping permit system should be used so age of the RV, permit fees, and drivers license numbers are collected prior to camping?

  5. Sar says:

    Should create more spaces for RVers both cities and outside cities in the future because variety is king to share with all the community across the nation.

  6. H Corbett says:

    In South Carolina, if your RV has a bathroom, bedroom and kitchen your RV is considered your second home. Sales tax and property tax are paid accordingly. You would not be considered homeless.

  7. Mike says:

    I will be selling my camper when I get home. Between local, state, and campground laws its just not worth it anymore. I was the victim of being evicted because of Campground doublebooking. I was waiting for parts so I could have brake and turn signal lights on my camper. I was told its illegal to park my camper without electricity and sewer. So I left. Beyond stupid and dangerous.

  8. Backcountry164 says:

    @H Corbett, So in other words, if you RV full time don’t choose SC as your home state.
    I’m in SD, lots of full timers register here. There’s almost no additional fees, there’s no state income tax, no annual inspections and it’s easy to set up PO boxes with forwarding services. There are even businesses to help you do it all
    You can register your RV in South Dakota without ever needing to set foot, or tire, anywhere in the state.

  9. Backcountry164 says:

    @Jerry M Minchey, It’s still a vehicle, or at the very least, was designed to attach to something that is a vehicle. Good luck trying to convince them that it wasn’t designed primarily for travel.

  10. Backcountry164 says:

    @Gwenn Schlottmann, that depends on how they define “urban camping”. Regardless, you can bet that any source of tax revenue will be exempt.

  11. Diana Banana says:

    First of all these government officials really need to do a better job differentiating between camping overnight, parking overnight or sleeping overnight which could be different things. I see camping as putting out your chairs, barbecue and awning whereas just parking overnight is like you’re just traveling through and resting for the night. And any city officials that ban sleeping overnight in any vehicle must not have their heads screwed on straight. Sometimes I’ve taken my dog for a walk in a park and then take a nap in my car afterwards even when I lived in sticks and bricks. So that’s illegal in some places?

    And secondly it sounds like another case of government officials putting a Band-Aid on the homeless issue. They don’t know what to do so they just try to make a blanket law. I wish they would just do what one city I know of has done where they have an actual gravel lot right in town (this is a small town that a lot of people travel through) designated for overnight parking and a sign that says ‘You may park overnight here one day per 7 day period’. It keeps people moving and no issues with people setting up camp there.