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News for December 5, 2021

U.S. Appeals Court Will Hear Challenge To Washington City Law Targeting Homeless RV Residents

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A case will be heard by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging an ordinance restricting the length recreational vehicles may park in Lacey, a report said.

It is a question of whether Lacey‘s restrictions on parking — which are specifically targeted at RVs and limit parking time to no more than 4 hours on all city streets — make it difficult for an RV owner to live in Lacey.

A number of civil rights organizations from Washington and California joined Potter vs. Lacey. They filed an amicus brief in which they characterized Lacey’s parking ordinance as part of a national pattern for anti-homeless laws. According to the National Homelessness Law Center (one of the organizations that filed this brief), half of U.S. municipalities have at least one law banning living in vehicles.

In March, a lower court sided in favor of Lacey on the grounds that the threat to impound a vehicle was not an excessive penalty under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Jack Potter, the plaintiff, appealed to the ninth circuit.

Lacey‘s law was passed in 2019 to remove RVs that were parked on the lot next to the city hall. The city can issue $35 fines or impound vehicles that are parked for more than four years. Potter’s lawyers argued that such a broad restriction renders it illegal for RV residents to legally reside on Lacey‘s public property, effectively evicting homeless RV residents.

Police arrested several RV owners and took them out of the area after passing the law.

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