News

Mountain View's RV parking enforcement postponed again, set to begin in July

Ticketing and towing prohibited under court order as settlement talks continue

RVs and trailers will not be ticketed and towed in Mountain View under a recent court order. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Mountain View's controversial RV parking ban won't be enforced through July 4, following an agreement between the city and legal advocacy groups that have sued to overturn the ordinances.

The stay of litigation, filed March 30, puts on hold enforcement of the city's expansive restrictions on oversized vehicle parking. Large vehicles including RVs are prohibited from being parked on narrow streets and streets with bike lanes, but police have yet to ticket or tow any vehicles under the pair of laws.

The ordinances faced a legal challenge in July last year, when the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and other groups filed a suit against the city claiming the parking prohibitions were a blatant attempt to oust the unhoused from the city. City data shows hundreds of RVs and cars are occupied by homeless residents using their vehicles as makeshift homes, and plaintiffs in the case say the parking restrictions threaten their well-being and could force them out of the area.

City officials have released a survey on inhabited vehicles in January 2022, showing a lower but still persistent number of RVs and passenger vehicles used as homes. The map counts a total of 216 vehicles, which includes 135 RVs.

In January, the city agreed on a stay of litigation that essentially put the ordinances on pause, meaning cops would not issue any citations or tow any oversized vehicles for violations of the parking restrictions. The stay was set to expire on April 5, but the order this week extended that period to July 4.

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The order states that both sides have engaged in "ongoing informal settlement discussions," with a full-day settlement conference already set for April 20. The latest 90-day stay means the entire case schedule has been pushed back, with the trial date now set for June 2023.

The city released a brief statement Friday that it is "pleased" with the progress in ongoing settlement discussions, and that the stay on litigation provides additional time to try to reach an agreement.

As of February, Mountain View has posted "No Parking" signs across the entire city, including areas with a high concentration of inhabited RVs. To avoid confusion and inform the public about the postponed enforcement, the Law Foundation has put out a bilingual flyer letting vehicle dwellers know their rights.

The flyer tells residents that the signs do not mean they will be ticketed or towed -- even if police officers ask them to move -- but that they could be held responsible for violating laws unrelated to the oversized vehicle parking ban. The flyer goes on to advocate for careful monitoring of police activity.

"If it is safe to do so, please use your cell phone to take photos and video of police activity related to the oversized vehicles, including any conversations you have with police or any interactions you see with police," according to the flyer.

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The recent stay of litigation adds to what has now been a yearslong delay in rolling out the oversized vehicle parking restrictions. The Mountain View City Council passed the two ordinances -- one for narrow streets and one for streets with bike lanes -- in September 2019. The bike lane prohibitions went through without a hitch, but the more controversial narrow streets ordinance was immediately subject to a voter referendum.

The ordinance, which included a large majority of city streets, came before voters in November 2020 and passed with nearly 57% of the vote. Those who defended the law during the election say Mountain View has done more than its fair share to help unhoused people, and that city streets are an inappropriate place for unhoused people to live. The ordinance itself is written tightly as a traffic safety measure and makes no mention of homelessness.

The legal challenge came in July 2021 shortly before the city sought to install the first set of parking signs.

The city would be in violation of the stay in the event that it issues citations, tows vehicles or "harasses" the occupants of oversized vehicles with the threat of an arrest, ticket or tow for running afoul of the oversized vehicle ordinances, according to the court order. Plaintiffs would also have a "good cause" reason to lift the stay if they can prove that RV inhabitants were forced to relocate from Mountain View because there were no legal overnight parking spaces available, including spaces in the city's safe parking lots.

Kevin Forestieri is an assistant editor with the Mountain View Voice and The Almanac. He joined the Voice in 2014 and has reported on schools, housing, crime and health. Read more >>

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Mountain View's RV parking enforcement postponed again, set to begin in July

Ticketing and towing prohibited under court order as settlement talks continue

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Apr 1, 2022, 1:15 pm

Mountain View's controversial RV parking ban won't be enforced through July 4, following an agreement between the city and legal advocacy groups that have sued to overturn the ordinances.

The stay of litigation, filed March 30, puts on hold enforcement of the city's expansive restrictions on oversized vehicle parking. Large vehicles including RVs are prohibited from being parked on narrow streets and streets with bike lanes, but police have yet to ticket or tow any vehicles under the pair of laws.

The ordinances faced a legal challenge in July last year, when the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and other groups filed a suit against the city claiming the parking prohibitions were a blatant attempt to oust the unhoused from the city. City data shows hundreds of RVs and cars are occupied by homeless residents using their vehicles as makeshift homes, and plaintiffs in the case say the parking restrictions threaten their well-being and could force them out of the area.

City officials have released a survey on inhabited vehicles in January 2022, showing a lower but still persistent number of RVs and passenger vehicles used as homes. The map counts a total of 216 vehicles, which includes 135 RVs.

In January, the city agreed on a stay of litigation that essentially put the ordinances on pause, meaning cops would not issue any citations or tow any oversized vehicles for violations of the parking restrictions. The stay was set to expire on April 5, but the order this week extended that period to July 4.

The order states that both sides have engaged in "ongoing informal settlement discussions," with a full-day settlement conference already set for April 20. The latest 90-day stay means the entire case schedule has been pushed back, with the trial date now set for June 2023.

The city released a brief statement Friday that it is "pleased" with the progress in ongoing settlement discussions, and that the stay on litigation provides additional time to try to reach an agreement.

As of February, Mountain View has posted "No Parking" signs across the entire city, including areas with a high concentration of inhabited RVs. To avoid confusion and inform the public about the postponed enforcement, the Law Foundation has put out a bilingual flyer letting vehicle dwellers know their rights.

The flyer tells residents that the signs do not mean they will be ticketed or towed -- even if police officers ask them to move -- but that they could be held responsible for violating laws unrelated to the oversized vehicle parking ban. The flyer goes on to advocate for careful monitoring of police activity.

"If it is safe to do so, please use your cell phone to take photos and video of police activity related to the oversized vehicles, including any conversations you have with police or any interactions you see with police," according to the flyer.

The recent stay of litigation adds to what has now been a yearslong delay in rolling out the oversized vehicle parking restrictions. The Mountain View City Council passed the two ordinances -- one for narrow streets and one for streets with bike lanes -- in September 2019. The bike lane prohibitions went through without a hitch, but the more controversial narrow streets ordinance was immediately subject to a voter referendum.

The ordinance, which included a large majority of city streets, came before voters in November 2020 and passed with nearly 57% of the vote. Those who defended the law during the election say Mountain View has done more than its fair share to help unhoused people, and that city streets are an inappropriate place for unhoused people to live. The ordinance itself is written tightly as a traffic safety measure and makes no mention of homelessness.

The legal challenge came in July 2021 shortly before the city sought to install the first set of parking signs.

The city would be in violation of the stay in the event that it issues citations, tows vehicles or "harasses" the occupants of oversized vehicles with the threat of an arrest, ticket or tow for running afoul of the oversized vehicle ordinances, according to the court order. Plaintiffs would also have a "good cause" reason to lift the stay if they can prove that RV inhabitants were forced to relocate from Mountain View because there were no legal overnight parking spaces available, including spaces in the city's safe parking lots.

Comments

Otto Maddox
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Apr 1, 2022 at 7:28 pm
Otto Maddox, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Apr 1, 2022 at 7:28 pm

72 hour parking violations. Easy.
Expired registrations. Easy.
Waste tanks leaking onto the street. Easy.

Even silly stuff like no front license plates. Easy.

All these are easy violations that have nothing to do with the size of the vehicle.

Why aren't these being enforced? Some of these vehicles have plants growing underneath them they have been parked in one spot so long.

Instead we cover the entire city in new signs, that can't even be enforced.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 2, 2022 at 10:13 am
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2022 at 10:13 am

Right Otto - I and 'many of us' also agree. Even my dear 'Lenny' agrees that No BIG street RVs parked in lanes right next to 'sign marked' and roadway marked Bicycle Lanes.

Otto's #2, #3 ("over 6 months"), #4 are all easy observable/ resident documentable CA Vehicle Code violations ('against the law' state-wide)

Please - Rule of Law - document (photo) these violations and clearly send in a Paper Copy complaint to the

Mountain View Police Department: re Traffic Enforcement
1000 Villa Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

old 'lucite' version of reporting to police / they should send U an 'old school' paper letter response - With a # to 'reference' your report. YOU CANNOT report this on-line " ( ) Traffic Complaint" in online [File a Police Report]

I think (hope) this will get your complaint, Officially 'into the record' (for you and City Council)


Frank Richards
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 2, 2022 at 1:21 pm
Frank Richards, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 2, 2022 at 1:21 pm

This is such an absurd, self-inflicted boondoggle the city backed itself into. They were presented with so many off-ramps here, but folks like Lisa Matichak and Margaret Abe-Koga have their constituencies that they need to satisfy. Now, here we are with a costly ballot measure, neverending costly litigation, expensive ugly signs throughout the city, all for no real positive benefit to anyone.


ivg
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 3, 2022 at 8:15 pm
ivg, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 3, 2022 at 8:15 pm

I wonder how many people would have voted for the RV ban if they'd known that the signs alone would cost $1M. How many RVs were there at the time? 300? That's $30,000 per RV -- enough to rent an apartment for a year.


JustAWorkingStiff
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 4, 2022 at 12:08 pm
JustAWorkingStiff, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 4, 2022 at 12:08 pm

Our votes don't matter.
A vote resulted in 57% in favor of the Ordinance

We now know that neither our court system or politicians can be trusted in MV
This behavior should inform all voters how untrustworthy the system is.
Voters should take remedial action.

Please note:
Lenny Siegel and his team opposed letting the entire city vote on the issue
A city-wide vote is a legitimate way of settling a disagreement between different groups.
Yet the process is being disrupted by special interest groups
Opposing views are met by name calling, character disparagement, and calling people liars
(The last point was just doing Randy's job for him in advance)


lan
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Apr 4, 2022 at 12:39 pm
lan, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Apr 4, 2022 at 12:39 pm

Got it! I can now rent a storage container and put it on the street! Until July. Will save lots of money in personal storage.

And the contractor who has taken over a good portion of our street with his three cars, two trailers will be very happy that he continue as he has for the past 2 years! No enforcement. Never mind that he double parks his cars while chatting with his buddies and has blocked off a huge portion of the street for two years.

And the garbage and refuse on streets with trailers? No worries. Makes Mountain View look like a garbage dump in those areas, but who cares?

To Mountain View City Council - get a spine, and do what's right for all of us in Mountain View.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 5, 2022 at 12:58 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 5, 2022 at 12:58 pm

@JustAWorking Stiff - it would be also very, very nice, if you would also be a Serious Student of public political affairs - That is: how local/state government and laws work. (local with state / CA is "sovereign" = CA Constitution and 'case law" prevails ALWAYS)

sometimes known as The Rule of Law (and U do not need to be a lawyer to understand)

@Stiff - then U might be taken more seriously.
1) your VOTES on a local issue / subserviant to the CA State Constitution DO NOT MATTER when the measure itself is found - by the 'workings of the state judiciary' (levels) to be in violation of the CA State Constitution
-"Stiff" - you get IMO a Not Pass on this topic. Look up "judicial review" in your civics textbook.
2) can't be trusted "in Mountain View" - The court system that is working is In the County of Santa Clara. This is not a local 'peoples court'. :). BTW - I wouldn't want to live in "The Peoples Republic of Stiffs"
3) "voters should take remedial action". ?
[ "when in the course of Human Events" ha ha - this hardly IMO raises to the level of armed rebelion / or Een wasting more of my TAX DOLLARS on some truely 'lame' 'voter action' ???

Peace & Love,
former Politician and always 'politico' Steven Nelson
resident / USA Citizen / and darn-sure-Voter in the City of Mountain View, California.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 5, 2022 at 1:15 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 5, 2022 at 1:15 pm

OPPS. (read better / write less retractions)
This is a FEDERAL COURT / so it is USA Constutional issues that are under consideration. I'd have filed under CA COnstitution , in the Santa Clara Co. courts. But then / the final result would have to end up further littigated / up to CA Appelate level, and important enough for a "Published" opinion from that CA Appelate Ct.

Maybe - juristiction of this USA FEDERAL COURT covers more ground both geographicly and legaly (or there is existing 'case law' in the FED court system that makes the leagal push FROM US "NO on C" easier.

Voice reporter Kevin? Why FED District Ct and not County of Santa Clara Superior Ct?

(thanks 4 the Direct LINK to the court filing public document - / 'nother subscriber/supporter')


Johnny Yuma
Registered user
Blossom Valley
on Apr 6, 2022 at 6:27 pm
Johnny Yuma, Blossom Valley
Registered user
on Apr 6, 2022 at 6:27 pm

Why I have to constantly remind The Voice that that RV dwellers are not homeless Is beyond me. RVs ARE their homes. Wake up…


B Black
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 7, 2022 at 3:27 pm
B Black, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Apr 7, 2022 at 3:27 pm

Did the City of Mountain View begin a program to allow parking and social services to RV’s and cars inhabitance?
Is the City pursuing this? Who were originators of election measure?
I believe the people of Mt. View care about those living on the streets. The people have spoken in the last election.
The City and County must give resources to get these vehicles, a place to park and clean their waste also get social services which they offered at Shoreline. Clean this mess up Mt. View City Council. Clean our streets, even though you can bring a horse to water but can’t make it drink.





Arik Singh
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Apr 8, 2022 at 9:35 am
Arik Singh, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2022 at 9:35 am

It is the moral responsibility of Mountain View and its more affluent residents to accommodate the RV dwellers, many of whom are not technically homeless but merely economically deprived.

Cuesta and Rengstorff Parks could also be utilized for overnight camping and after hours RV parking providing the vehicles are registered, fully insured, and safe to operate on the streets.

And there is a lot of extra open space at both parks for short-term overnight camping when the parks are closed.


Stephen
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Apr 8, 2022 at 10:46 am
Stephen, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2022 at 10:46 am

We’re all entitled to our opinions about moral obligations, housing inequities, etc but the people of Mountain View have voted. I look forward to the RV ban being enforced one day. Or maybe we can partner with neighboring cities like Palo Alto and Los Altos to help create more RV parking lots or allow the RV dwellers to park on their streets. Legal challenges by the current groups clearly don’t represent what the majority of MV residents want. Please advance your agenda somewhere else.


Marissa Long
Registered user
Blossom Valley
on Apr 8, 2022 at 11:40 am
Marissa Long, Blossom Valley
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2022 at 11:40 am

> Legal challenges by the current groups clearly don’t represent what the majority of MV residents want.

That is besides the point. During the Jim Crow era, many southerners were in favor of racial discrimination which doesn't make a majority mindset right.

> Please advance your agenda somewhere else.

Without any moral compass, we are doomed to further inhumanity towards those less fortunate.

Those more concerned about their residential real estate property values and superficial street appearances should consider another community in which to reside.

There is a transient motorhome that parks in our neighborhood after hours and then departs prior to 6AM.

What harm is there in that?


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Apr 8, 2022 at 2:40 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2022 at 2:40 pm

ah - @Marissa -
I feel the fresh air blowing - just reading your posting. / and a Name, a real name / a Rose by any name ...

Southerners at the time of my [long ago, going toward ancient] birth also had A LOCK on who voted (not "Colored"). "White Only". as much as they could enforce. With bat(s) or bullets or rope. "Strange fruit".

and in the Russian Federation - who votes? and what choice of candidate(s)?

Stephen %#@$# (whatsyourname?) / the Rule of Law in the USA seems much more complicated than you understand.

Sorry - it it clear. Like that pop radio station I recently 'tuned out' - a call in quiz 'contestent' could Not Name Who "the President of the United States" was!!! Stephen - U have been graded - "D" in Civics. You know "legal challanges" and "what the majority" words are - but Not Their Context and Relationship.


Stephen
Registered user
Rengstorff Park
on Apr 8, 2022 at 3:14 pm
Stephen, Rengstorff Park
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2022 at 3:14 pm

[Post removed at poster's request]


Gil Fuentes
Registered user
Whisman Station
on Apr 9, 2022 at 11:39 am
Gil Fuentes, Whisman Station
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 11:39 am

I suspect it is the rundown and disheveled appearance of these RVs have most residents concerned.

If the RVs were Mercedes Sprinters, no one would be complaining because they would enhance the various neighborhoods with appearances of affluence.

Solution: establish a state/county/city grant program to provide eligible recipients with nicer RVs!


Greg David
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Apr 12, 2022 at 10:09 pm
Greg David, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Apr 12, 2022 at 10:09 pm

When the ACLU wins, what is the city going to do with the $1M worth of signs?

@ivg. Someone needs a remedial math course. But I get your point.


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Apr 20, 2022 at 6:14 pm
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Apr 20, 2022 at 6:14 pm

Greg David, apparently the Public Works Dept is planning of removing the NO PARKING 2am to 6am signs in front of a couple of businesses. Letters went out. We have not heard anything about this new twist. These signs went up in locations where RVs seriously blocked vision for people exiting business drive ways.


SRB
Registered user
St. Francis Acres
on Apr 20, 2022 at 9:19 pm
SRB, St. Francis Acres
Registered user
on Apr 20, 2022 at 9:19 pm

@polomon

How many customers exit a business driveway between 2am and 6am?


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Apr 21, 2022 at 9:19 am
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 9:19 am

SRB the RVs like in any other location never moved.


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