June 1, 2021 – We do not know if in recent days the Local Police of Ravenna is continuing to fine unwitting campers who stop on the municipal territory, but certainly the echoes of what happened in recent days do not show signs of disappearing. Despite the protests, the municipal administration’s stance against itinerant tourists is clear-cut and incontrovertible, as demonstrated by the words of the mayor Michele de Pascale: in a letter to the newspaper Il Resto del Carlino (to which we too wrote a few days ago), while denying having used tones that are offensive or detrimental to the dignity of a category, the mayor confirmed his desire to “not allow overnight stays in motorhomes or other vehicles in the parking lots and in the streets of the city and near the shores“, which to his advice “must not be a fixed parking place“. With this proving that he did not understand anything of the findings that have been raised from various sides.
Meanwhile, there are two concrete reactions, one in our opinion questionable and the other potentially very interesting. A Facebook user who enjoys a certain notoriety organized what he called the “1st PACIFIC CAMPERISTI-Anti DASPO EVENT”. On the event pages we read verbatim: “It will not be a gathering (in compliance with covid regulations) but an appointment. We will join forces, demonstrating with honks explained against the shameful DASPO imposed by the municipality of Ravenna against the ‘itinerant tourist’ – The PACIFIC and ORDINATED caravan will start from the meeting point (rest area), towards Ravenna … and then return to the starting point after a 13 km journey (20 minutes on the road)“.
The requests of the ANCC
The second, on the other hand, is a clear stance by the l’Associazione Nazionale Coordinamento Camperisti(ANCC, the biggest Italian motohomers association), which moved by sending a formal letter to the Municipality of Ravenna asking to modify the Urban Police Regulations, which gave rise to the sanctions imposed on the chassis. in recent days and to “refrain from applying art. 15 of the Urban Police Regulations to parked motorhomes in compliance with art. 185 c.d.s.” (c.d.s means Traffic Laws, ed.). In the absence of a positive response from the administration, to which all the regulatory points on the basis of which the regulation constitutes a violation of the law have been highlighted, the ANCC will follow the procedure of the appeals that have seen it (a lot) often being right about short-sighted administrations. Unfortunately, in this case, campers will have to wait a long time: it takes months, sometimes years, before being able to put an end to these events of ordinary bureaucracy.
As for the spontaneous demonstration, we agree with the ANCC, which advises not to join. First of all because “gatherings during the pandemic are to be avoided” and then because “the arrival of so many motorhomes would not harm the mayor, but would create circulation problems, that is, damage to citizens that have nothing to do with the mayor“. The association also specifies that due to its direct experience in organizing similar events in the 80s and 90s, there must be “identifiable and operational managers on the front line, a large organization to manage transits and road traffic, the achievement of the relative authorizations, as well as being in synergy with the Police Forces“. We do not know how much the organizers have been attentive to these aspects, but in our opinion the first two points are enough to suggest not to participate.
Better to associate
If you want to have a real say, it is always better to follow institutional paths. Joining the ANCC is cheap (€20 or €34 per year depending on the type of membership) and in exchange you get the opportunity to have personalized suggestions in the event of even less glaring problems. The Association, which operates on a voluntary basis, employs professional lawyers who know how to navigate the mare magnum of Italian regulations and incur expenses, certainly not slight, to initiate disputes in the correct locations. And often, as mentioned above, it gets justice. If you have 20 euros to spend, in our opinion, rather than putting them in diesel fuel to reach Ravenna, it is better to invest them in the ANCC annual fee.
Below you will find the full version of the letter that Isabella Cocolo, president of the Association, sent yesterday to the municipal administration of Ravenna.
Florence, May 31, 2021
To the Municipality of Ravenna
Subject: parked motorhomes sanctioned and removed for occupation of the roadway. Application for the repeal or amendment of art. 15 of the Urban Police Regulations and for the cancellation of the reports of violation and removal.
The undersigned Isabella Cocolo formulates this as President and legal representative of the National Association of Motorhome Coordination, tax code 92097020348, based in Florence in via di San Niccolò 21, as an association that holds the collective interest of users in motorhomes.
Following numerous reports, we have learned that the Municipality of Ravenna, pursuant to art. 15 of the Urban Police Regulations, sanctions and removes users in motorhomes who are parked in the municipal area. In particular:
- art. 15 co. 3 prohibits, among other things, the “permanent occupation of roads… caused by the garaging, or by the storage in the period in which they are not used, of campers…”;
- art. 15 co. 4 prohibits, among other things, “any activity similar to camping, that is to say occupation of public spaces and areas and the subtraction, therefore, of free use by the community, carried out through parking and prolonged parking of vehicles used as occasional dwellings…”;
- art. 15 co. 6 provides that failure to comply with the aforementioned requirements is “subject, where applicable, to the rules referred to in articles 9 and 10 of the decree-law no. 14, converted into law no. 48“.
These limitations, seriously detrimental to the users’ right to travel in motorhomes, are in violation of the law and vitiated by excess of power.
Art. 15, paragraph 3, first of all an improper mix between boats and vehicles and, within the latter, between cars and trailers, also using terms not provided for by the law (the words “camper” and “roulotte” are not covered by cds).
Art. 15, co. 3 and co. 4, prohibits the occupation of the road, forgetting that this phenomenon is regulated by art. 20 of the Traffic Laws, in fact, “Occupation of the roadway”.
Art. 15 of the Regulation also does not take into account art. 157 c.d.s. which defines parking as a prolonged suspension of the vehicle with the possibility of driving away the driver, nor does it consider the distinction between parking and camping. In particular, in prohibiting the occupation “carried out through parking“, paragraph 4 of art. 15 of the Urban Police Regulations essentially identifies parking with the occupation of the road. In this way, it wrongly punishes lawful conduct – parking – equating it with illegal conduct – occupation / camping. The confusion is confirmed by the use of further equivocal terminology, such as “prolonged parking”: a phenomenon that is not defined by any regulatory provision.
The terminology used can create confusion in the same ascertaining body provided that paragraphs 3 and 4 of art. 15 of the Urban Police Regulations both prohibit the occupation of roads and it is not clear how one can distinguish between “garaging” or “storage” (co. 3) and “prolonged parking” (co. 4).
Art. 15 of the Regulation, moreover, as formulated and applied, does not take into account art. 185 c.d.s. which, on the one hand, equates motorhomes with all other vehicles for road traffic purposes and, on the other hand, specifies that the parking of motorhomes does not constitute camping if the vehicle does not rest on the ground, except with wheels, it does not emit its own outflows, except for those of the mechanical engine and in any case it does not occupy the roadway to an extent exceeding the size of the vehicle itself.
The distinction between stopping and different phenomena such as camping is confirmed in the recent rulings of the T.A.R. Liguria n. 111/2021, T.R.G.A. Trento n. 179/2020 and T.R.G.A. Bolzano no. 69/2019 which accepted the appeals of the writer against measures limiting the road traffic of motorhomes.
The application of art. 15 of the Urban Police Regulations to parked motorhomes, therefore, has the dual effect of replacing national legislation and at the same time evading the provisions of Legislative Decree 285/92.
It is also noted that this Municipality has already attempted to sanction parked motorhomes on the basis of ordinance no. 1450/2002 establishing the ban on camping. Indeed, with sentence no. 590/2018, the Justice of the Peace of Ravenna annulled a sanction imposed on the basis of ordinance no. 1450/02.
As for art. 15 co. 6 of the Urban Police Regulations, the reference to articles 9 and 10 of the D.L. 14/2017 appears erroneous. Art. 9 of the aforementioned D.L. it concerns the internal areas of the railway, airport and public transport infrastructures and not the roadway. Furthermore, the phenomena that the aforementioned art. 9 intends to counter have nothing to do with parking a vehicle. It is doubted, however, that a municipal regulation can extend the application of a decree-law to hypotheses other than those provided for therein, without counting the uncertainty arising from the use of the expression “where applicable“.
Finally, it should be noted that several times this Municipality has been invited to regulate camping and similar activities through the adoption of models of ordinances provided for in the report “Criteria for the organization of areas used for parking and vehicle parking” presented in 2013 by Dr. Fabio Dimita, Administrative Director of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, on the occasion of the XXXII edition of the Days of the Local Police (doc. 1).
Given the above, the Municipality of Ravenna is invited:
- to repeal or modify art. 15 paragraphs 3, 4 and 6 of the Urban Police Regulations;
- in view of self-protection, to cancel or revoke ex officio all the reports of ascertained violation of art 15 co. 3 and / or co. 4 of the Urban Police Regulations and all the reports of expulsion imposed so far;
- to refrain from applying art. 15 of the Urban Police Regulations to parked motorhomes in compliance with art. 185 c.d.s.
Failing this, this Association will be forced, in spite of itself, to undertake further initiatives to protect its own interests and the category it represents with burdens that will be charged to the entity.
Yours sincerely, Isabella Cocolo, President
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