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Maine overnight RV parking


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#1 tmoning

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 01:48 PM

A bill in the Maine State Legislature, LD 114, would make it a civil offense to park an RV overnight on any public parking lot in the state.

View the bill text.

Rep. Anne Perry - RepAnne.Perry@legislature.maine.gov - is the bill's sponsor. To contact other Maine legislators, go to the Maine State Legislature Web site, http://janus.state.me.us/legis/.

Also, consider contacting the following to voice your opinion of this pending bill:

Governor John E. Baldacci
Office of the Governor
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001
Phone 207-287-3531
Fax 207-287-1034
http://www.maine.gov...hare_views.html.

Maine office of tourism:
1-888-624-6345
www.visitmaine.com/contact.php

Maine Tourism Association
Phone: (207) 623-0363
Fax: (207) 623-0388
mtainfo@mainetourism.com
www.mainetourism.com

Convention & Visitors Bureau of Greater Portland
207-772-5800
info@visitportland.com
www.visitportland.com
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#2 buddyzds

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:57 PM

www.mainesenate.org/mitchell

The above URL will enable you to send an email to Senator Libby Mitchell
Maine Senate President District 24. Please notify her as to why she should oppose the proposed bill and how it could cost her state quite a bit of revenue.

I like to "boon dock" from time to time, when I drive late and it is too much trouble to check into a CG just to roll out early the next morning. I wouldn't like to become a criminal just because I slept in my Motor Coach.

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#3 TBUTLER

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:59 PM

I have contacted each of the above agencies. Some require some searching to come up with an e-mail address. Check the bottom of their page for a tiny word, contact. Here is the message I sent to each.

We have been informed that a bill in the Maine State Legislature, LD114/HP98, would make it a civil offense to park an RV overnight on any public parking lot in the state.

We have visited Maine in the past and plan to do so again this summer. On our last visit, we made stops at four different campgrounds in the state staying 12 days total. We did park on a public parking lot (at Wal-Mart) one night. The circumstances were unique in that we had just returned from Canada late one rainy evening. Rather than trying to find a campground in the dark on a rainy night we elected to park on the Wal-Mart parking lot. I do not like to drive at night with such a large vehicle and being able to get off the road to a safe parking place is very important to me. We left early the next morning and drove to our next campground in Maine.

We love visiting Maine and have always felt welcome but the nature of this bill is to make us feel less welcome. I think it will be a stain on the welcome mat that I am sure you and the legislature of Maine wish to extend to the vacationing and recreational vehicle community.

I should mention that the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has established a standard of etiquette for recreational vehicles when parked on public parking lots. This standard of etiquette can be found at: http://www.fmca.com/...ernight-parking

If the legislature feels the problem is severe enough to warrant some action perhaps it can be tempered with some standards such as above to make it more palatable to the recreational vehicle community.

Thank you for your consideration.

Tom Butler
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After 9 1/2 years full time in our motor home and being Winter Texans we are now living at Sandpipers Resort in Edinburg, Texas. Now we are Summer Chickens!

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#4 barryhomer

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 08:38 PM

Maine legislators are voting this week.
Now is the time for all good men & women to offer our concerns.....

This is our letter.

There are good lists of email addresses:
http://www.maine.gov...ouse/e_mail.htm
http://www.maine.gov...ators/index.htm
http://www.maine.gov...ail/maillst.htm

Barry & Cindy

STOP Bill LD114/HP98 ''RV Unfriendly'' Law – hurts everyone

We are very upset about bill LD114/HP98 currently being pushed through the Maine State Legislature. It will make it a civil offense to park an RV overnight on any public parking lot in Maine. Our understanding this bill may already be out of committee with a ''Pass as Amended'' recommendation. Someone needs to stop passage of this ill-considered, discriminatory law and consider what it really means to the state of Maine merchants and tourism.

Does Maine really want to alienate 30 million RVers?

Does Maine really want to be labeled ''RV Unfriendly''?

LD114/HP98 will have an unexpected, and far-reaching negative economic impact. It will be a public relations embarrassment created by a small special-interest group – the campground industry – who mistakenly believe this will fill their campgrounds. Mandating that every single night, every single RVer in Maine must be parked in a campground is absurd! Maine should welcome RVers with open arms in every way possible. You are competing for our disposable income with every other state in North America. LD114/HP98 sends the message that we are a nuisance, second-class citizens to be directed where we don’t want to go, and basically not welcome.

Some of the major shortcomings in this special-interest law include:

(1) No forethought as to what impact there will be on the Maine tourist economy when RVers elect to avoid visiting, passing through or spending money in Maine, as they did in Billings MT, Laughlin NV and Reno NV when those cities attempted to enact or enforce similar bans on a local basis pushed by campground owners. Wal-Mart stores nationally have allowed RVers to park overnight in their lots. Why? Wal-Mart management knows that good RV relations brings in business.

(2) Discriminates against RVers. It would be illegal for RVers to park overnight at places like Wal Marts, truckstops and casinos. Yet trucks are excluded and can park anywhere.
So truckers can park overnight at Wal Mart but RVers cannot?
No casino overnight parking?? Really?? I like parking at casinos and always seek them out. Casinos have always appreciated me (and my money). A loss for all of us…

(3) Creates really BAD feelings trying to force RVers to travel additional miles off our route, where we don’t want to go, just to find a campground where we might not fit, to pay for amenities we do not use, want or need. Parking overnight in a public or private lot where we are out of the way is what RVers expect to be able to do and it’s a big help. Our vehicles are designed for this. It doesn’t bother anyone except Campground Owners who mistakenly see us as lost revenue.

(4) No provision for where RVers would stay from late Fall through early Spring, when nearly all Maine campgrounds are closed.

(5) No provision requiring campgrounds to be open to check-in arriving RVers at any time of day or night.

(6) No provision requiring campgrounds to offer facilities to accommodate any size and kind of RV, including the largest rigs, or for campgrounds to provide and maintain access roads with sufficient weight-bearing capacity and adequate clearances. Often RVs don’t fit under the trees or on small sites so common in rural or smaller family-owned campgrounds.

(7) No provision for handling RVs with no place to go because area campgrounds are full and there are no other campgrounds within 50 miles. My guess is there aren’t even enough RV campgrounds in Maine to park every RV every night. This is a silly law especially since Maine is so rural!

(8) Bill language mentions waste disposal, the usual “red herring” that campground owners throw out when pressing for this kind of law. The law would punish all for the transgressions of a very few who dump tanks where they shouldn’t, an action that is already illegal. The modern RV is self-contained and 99.9% leave nothing behind except money spent.

(9) Creates an unsafe situation and probably exposes Maine to law suits from accidents. The majority of RVers are retirees. Do you really want me on the road with my 55-foot combination of 30,000-lb+ motorhome and tow car, possibly creating a dangerous situation because I’m tired because I can’t find a suitable campground because you won’t let me pull over for the night?

My advice to State, County and City Lawmakers:

You are elected or appointed to provide a service to your constituents. Are your constituents better off by turning business away? I think not! I want my state/city to open doors to those traveling through in the hope I can foster a relationship that encourages visitors to come back. An ''RV Friendly'' reputation spreads like fire in today’s internet savvy RV community. Like-wise a restrictive/unfriendly attitude – and especially “nuisance ordinances” – spreads at an even faster rate! You provide encouragement for RVs to stop and shop by the attitude portrayed from the absence of negative overnight parking restrictions or by the presence of big-rig access signage. Don’t give reasons for RVs to continue on down the road! Your businesses and tourism industry will benefit from inviting us to stop by.

My advice to RV Park Owners who push bans on RV parking any place other than their parks:
If RVers are coming to your city or town as a destination they will likely stay in your commercial RV Parks. By mandating enforcement of RV parking you are hurting your own business and city/state reputation. Many RVers will simply avoid “RV Unfriendly Maine”. Accept that RVers who just want a quick stop for the night don’t want a campground. Maybe you could attract some more business by joining one of the half price RV clubs and limiting the stay to two nights, thereby introducing your park to those that might return for longer stays. At least you would not be anti-traveler.

My advice to Stores, malls, restaurants, entertainment with large parking lots:
Tell your security people to welcome us with a smile. Advise us where the best place to park is. We are pleased to register if you want. We enhance your security just by being there. And that’s not to mention what we will spend for eating, shopping and entertainment.

My advice to Casinos
You are in a very unique position to increase your share of RVer customers and increase your bottom line. Just look at Native American casinos – many welcome RVers to stay as long as they want. Require registration if you want. Identify an area and mark off the number of parking slots you feel are appropriate for your size of facility. When feasible, provide a sewer dump and fresh water supply. A small charge would not be out of line.

My advice to Maine businesses, services, recreation & tourism industry, and citizens:
LD114/HP98 must be stopped. If LD114/HP98 should somehow pass, I will mark across the Maine map in my map atlas with large letters ''RV Unfriendly.'' Then I will make every effort to never or severely limit our future travel there. I will put the word out to my fellow RVers and RV groups that they should do the same. You are out-of-step with 30 million RV travelers to think this bill has any value to anyone except RV Park Owners. Put a stop to this special interest stupidity.

Unfortunately for us, RVers are a dispersed group and are unable to lobby the way the Campground Owners have. But we are indeed a powerful group who can vote with our wheels and go elsewhere. Word travels fast among us and Maine will quickly become branded as an “RV Unfriendly” state to be avoided. We will continue updating each other about our experiences identifying friendly and unfriendly cities, towns and states. Especially where we are labeled “a nuisance”. We will make a difference.

As for me, my motorhome, and my disposable income – we only go where we are welcomed. We WILL miss visiting Maine, but there are so many other states beckoning us...

PLEASE PLEASE STOP LD114/HP98
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#5 tmoning

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Posted 12 May 2009 - 01:15 PM

UPDATE

It appears that LD 114 (HP 98), the Maine bill that would prohibit overnight RV parking in commerical lots, won't make it out of a House committee.

The Health and Human Services Committee, on May 12, approved a motion to accept a Majority Ought Not to Pass Report.

The report a bill receives is often the most important factor on its passage or defeat.

The "ought not to pass" report was not unanimous, so a legislator may move, at the appropriate time during floor debate, to substitute the bill for the report. A majority vote is required, however, for the motion to proceed. And such a motion is usually made only when neither report of a divided report has been accepted.

LD 114 was referrred to the Health and Human Services Commitee on May 5. News of the bill spread quckily on the Internet, and RV enthusiasts began contacting Maine legislators and tourism officials to express their opinions regarding the bill. Evidently, the reaction from the RV community led the bill's sponsor, Rep. Anne Perry, to withdraw her support.
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#6 tmoning

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 02:05 PM

Allen York, president of the Maine Campground Owners Association, addressed the overnight parking situation in the May 20 Kennebec Journal Morning Sentinel. Here is the article written by Mr. York, who owns Yonder Hill RV Park in Madison.

Commercial lots that allow free, overnight parking have become popular among owners of recreational vehicles. There's no question that these parking lots serve an important purpose -- in particular, they present tired drivers with an easy option to rest for the night. Allowing overnight parking helps keeps drivers safe so they can get to their next destination.

But these commercial lots that allow free parking to RVs illustrate a real and growing threat to many of Maine's 275 campgrounds. Fact is, each time an RV stops for the night in a commercial parking lot, a local campground loses out on a customer. And these days, each lost customer makes a larger dent on a campground's bottom line.

To address this issue, the Maine Campground Owners Association (MECOA), of which I am president, recently supported a bill in the Maine Legislature that in part called for the creation of a Web site and brochures to educate RV owners about alternatives to commercial parking lots, including the locations of approved free camping areas and campgrounds close to highway exits.

The bill that emerged from the legislative committee, however, was quite different: It simply proposed a ban on RV camping in commercial lots.

RV owners across the United States have complained that they felt the bill, sponsored by Rep. Anne Perry, was unfair and amounted to a black eye on Maine's tourism efforts. MECOA encouraged Perry to withdraw the bill.

But that hasn't stopped the outcry. Campground owners continue to hear directly from RV owners angered that Maine's Legislature would consider such a law. I have received hundreds of messages that range from simple opposition to the proposed legislation to personal attacks targeting my business and vowing to never again patronize my campground.

It is unfortunate that these attacks have become personal in nature. What's worse, I believe they mask a larger problem faced by some Maine campgrounds. Many of Maine's campgrounds are struggling to operate their businesses in a difficult economic environment. The cost of running a campground rises every year, as state regulations and an evolving industry force owners to make changes to their facilities, from wastewater upgrades to more facilities to accommodate campers. Our campground alone has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on such upgrades in recent years.

We also hoped to draw attention to a Maine law already in place that requires an entity that serves five or more camping parties, in exchange for direct or indirect compensation, to be licensed as a campground. As such, it would be required to follow the same rules and regulations as the state's other campgrounds, from waste requirements to regular water testing. Since this law already is in place, why isn't it being enforced at the state's parking lots which are being used for RV overnight stays?

Before it was pulled from consideration, the bill addressed enforcing that law. However, enforcement was pushed down the line from the owners of the commercial parking lots to the individual camper -- and that wasn't our initial intent. Similarly, we did not want the proposed legislation to target Maine businesses allowing camping in their parking lots during events such as races, festivals or fairs.

We hoped the proposed legislation would alert citizens -- from legislators to camping enthusiasts -- that campgrounds located near these big commercial parking lots are struggling as more and more RV owners opt to save a few dollars by pulling up for the night at a lot that charges no fee and offers no services beyond a vacant patch of asphalt.

Maine campgrounds offer more than a place to park: We offer a wide array of recreational activities and entertainment for the whole family, from fishing and boating to music festivals and theme weekends. We want to keep our industry healthy, ensuring that RV owners exploring Maine have wonderful campgrounds to visit for years to come. But to keep Maine's campgrounds open and thriving, we must rely on RV owners to continue pulling in each night and taking advantage of everything we offer.
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#7 garykd

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 03:28 PM

Thanks for the update. I have sent an email to Mr. York. The bottom line is I encouraged him and his organization to define a product and price for the RVer that only needs a place to sleep for the night.
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#8 diplomatman2002

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 07:15 PM

This evening I had an extended telephone conversation with Allen York of the Maine Campground owners association. I felt that it was a very productive conversation. I expressed my concern about RVers being charged full price for a short overnight stay at a campground where they would use no services. I referenced a personal example where I was charged $45.00 for a period from 8Pm to 7am in a campground in York Maine and expressed my view that there should be a reasonable fee charged for such a situation. Mr York advised that the campground owners are not necessarly opposed to an overnight stay in Walmart or similiar facility and realize the neccesity of it but what they are opposed to is rvers spending multiple nights in Walmarts or similiar locations with slides out, jacks down and awnings out. Mr York stated that he has had several cases where he has seen these coaches in Walmart and then have them come into his campground an offer him $5.00 to dump. I agree that this is not right. I will be having a discussion with the Execetive Director of the association in the next few days. I will extend an invitation to him to attend our Northeast Area Rally in Essex Junction , VT in August where we can have the opportunity to open a dialoge and work toward a solution that would benefit both sides.

Paul DuBois
Incoming Northeast Area VP
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#9 Guest_Wayne77590_*

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 07:57 PM

Paul,
First, thanks for the information.
Second, instead of a law banning overnight parking in Walmart or other parking lots, establish a law that prohibits slides out, jacks down, awnings out and have the police departments enforce them with fines. Maybe that would stop those who are not adhering to good conduct from stopping at those facilities. A $50 fine would make them think more about staying at a CG if they want full service. I am all for being able to stop at a parking lot for 7 or 8 hours without "setting up." I would like to be able to run the generator in some of the Southern climates, and even the Northeast in Summer months. Of course, it could be the managers descretion as to what you could set up in their parking lot.

#10 diplomatman2002

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 06:02 PM

Wayne I received a call this morning from Rick Abare the Executive Director of the Maine Campground Owners Association. He is interested in hearing suggestions from us on the subject. In fact he is interestred in attending our Northeast Area Rally in Essex Junction, VT August 12-15 and taking a booth and also possibly doing a Q and A session. I think your suggestion is excellent. I will forward it to him

Paul DuBois
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