Key West seeks to ban vehicle sleeping

June 14, 2012 at 2:26 PM
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KEY WEST, Fla., June 14 (UPI) -- Residents of Key West, Fla., who live in their vehicles are objecting to officials seeking to ban "lodging" in vehicles.

The Key West City Commission approved the new rules June 5, but the law must still pass a second public hearing and approval before it takes effect, reported Thursday.

The ordinance, which was proposed by Mayor Craig Cates, states "lodging" in vehicles "constitutes a hazard to the health and safety of the residents (and) visitors to the city" and has "a significant negative impact that creates an adverse effect on tourism and the environment."

Kurt Wagner, who said he lives in a 1999 Dodge, said he objects to the law.

"Thousands of times a day, you've got dogs peeing on the streets and some people don't even pick up the turds the dogs drop. Have you ever been to a chicken farm? It's the smelliest, nastiest place imaginable in this world and Key West promotes their chickens all over this island," he said. "And they're worried about me sleeping in my van, not bothering anybody?"

Other speakers told the commission they believe the law to be unconstitutional. However, city attorney Shawn Smith said his research indicates the law is allowable by the U.S. Constitution.

Michelangelo Palazzo, a 90-year-old World War II veteran, said he also lives in his vehicle.

"I don't know how sleeping in your vehicle has an impact, a negative impact, on the tourist system. I'll be 91 next month and I don't want to leave. I feel that the item I just read is invalid," he said.

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