After hearing concerns about chronic offenders parking their recreational vehicles on the streets for longer than 72 hours, Lodi has stepped up efforts to find the vehicles and cite or tow them.
Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce said she has heard concerns about RVs parked around schools. One of the main complaints she has received is about a vehicle constantly parked around Ellerth E. Larson Elementary School, where the roads are narrow.
"There's the whole visibility factor, and little kids are running everywhere, and there is a lot of traffic and people," Mounce said. "During certain times of day, it can be a real accident waiting to happen."
The Lodi City Council received a presentation Tuesday morning after asking for further information on how the abandoned vehicle ordinance was being enforced on RVs.
In a past meeting, the council had suggested requiring RV users to receive permits if parked on the street. But at the shirtsleeve meeting, the council said enforcing the current policy seems to be working for the most part.
"Somebody is doing a good job," Councilman Bob Johnson said. "I don't think this problem is ever completely going away. People will always create problems for their neighbors."
Volunteer Police Partners handle all abandoned vehicle complaints. In 2009, they responded to 3,716 complaints, with about 10 percent, or 362, being RVs, camp trailers and boats, said Jeanie Biskup, who is the support services manager for the Lodi Police Department.
When someone calls to complain about an abandoned vehicle, it is tagged with a warning notice. If it is not moved in 72 hours, or Partners will tow the vehicle.
Almost 90 percent of the complaints were usually resolved within 72 hours before the vehicles were cited or towed, she said.
"You would be surprised how much their blood pressure rises when we put orange stickers on their vehicles," Biskup said.
There were eight RVs and trailers towed in 2009. The Partners also gave out 25 citations when people game the system by driving the vehicle around the block and then parking it in the same area.
While he believes it is a good idea to limit the time any vehicle can be on the street, Andrew Martin said the city should not specifically target recreational vehicles. He owns a camping trailer and has never received a notice asking him to move it.
"It isn't better or worse than anything else," he said. "Trucks with big mirrors, those can stick out farther than RVs."
He does not believe that RVs parked on narrow streets are any more obtrusive than other vehicles, he said.
"If you go to an old section of town, you can't fit two cars down the street anyway," Martin said.
Mounce asked Partners to continue being vigilant around schools. She also thanked the volunteer group for always picking up abandoned vehicles near her house. Most of the vehicles are left from migrant workers who abandon the car and leave after harvest, she said.
"The program has been a life saver to my neighborhood," Mounce said.