Local Commentary

Editorial: Expelling Trailers & RV’s from Our Streets?

The proposed ordinance that the Falls Church City Council had considered voting on next week takes from no limit to a very sharp limit the ability of trailers, RV’s and other non-passenger vehicles to park on public streets in the city.

There are so many problems associated with this idea and public outcry over these has caused the Council to postpone action on the matter until sometime in January.

It was obvious that very little thought and consideration went into the crafting of this proposed ordinance, rife with unintended consequences and cause for potential legal actions against the City.

This one came before the Council last week, where it was given preliminary OK by a unanimous vote, as if out of the blue, no one having heard of the idea, or of reports of any problems, beforehand.

Aside from it representing another opportunity for the City to rake in some big bucks on a whole new category of parking tickets, the only other upside to the idea lies in the City’s willingness to assuage the complaints of some citizens who don’t like having RV’s or trailers parked in front of their homes on residential streets in particular.

From our perspective, this is a repeat of what’s happened from time to time in Falls Church over the last two dozen years when residents get it into their heads that they own not only their own property, but the street in front of it, too.

This is represents a false sense of entitlement and no one who lives here should let a handful of residents get away with it to the detriment of everyone else. The public streets and sidewalks are public property, equally accessible and available to all citizens, and in no case a special few.

In this regard, someone at City Hall a dozen years ago or so made a very bad decision to use administrative authority to turn the 100 block of N. Spring Street into a one-way street. No one on the City Council had an opportunity to weigh in on it, and it remains a questionable move. While the church in that block gained from it, the 45,000 motorists who drive through and around the City every day have been disadvantaged by it.

When another church in town saw what happened on N. Spring and decided it would like a similar outcome on a street near it, the City Council became alerted and put a swift stop to the measure. In that case, the move was called for by the church despite its negative impact on over 500 residents in the same block.

If there are to be limits placed on how long a trailer or RV can sit in a parking space on a City street they should be subject to case-by-case permission. Often parked RV’s, for example, are occupied by friends or relatives of City residents who’ve come for a visit.