GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis City Commission passed an ordinance Tuesday evening disallowing overnight camping in a vehicle not geared for such on city streets.
“One thing we were concerned about was that tractor trailer guys,” said City Commissioner Steven Wallis. “If they need to pull over and stop if their time runs out. We were not trying to put that person in a predicament where they could get cited when the law requires them to stop.”
Commissioners discussed removing language including toilet facility requirements in a vehicle from the proposed ordinance. Commissioners agreed to keep language stating the ordinance would not apply to persons who are occupying vehicles such as tractor trailer cabs, campers and the like, and required sleeping facilities in the vehicle.
“So (City Clerk Annette Landers) and I were talking back there. We might be splitting hairs here but we were concerned that if someone is on their way south and you’re sleepy and just pull over in your car and here on the street some place for a quick nap, are you in violation of this?” said City Manager Gene Greene.
Commissioner Matt Johnson said one would likely figure out quickly what the individual was doing on the side of the road.
Commissioner Roger Brandeberry said such matters often had to be determined by officer discretion.
“We could probably name off a hundred things where you could really abuse it but you have to rely on an officer’s discretion for some things,” said Brandeberry.
“If someone comes out and complains (about a driver), they can move down the road…,” said Wallis. “You can throw out the statistic that a sleepy driver is just as bad as a drunk driver and we don’t want anyone to get hurt or cited for doing their job. The purpose behind this was (to prevent) someone making a campground night after night in the same spot.”
The commission voted unanimously to pass amendments and the ordinance.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.