News

Final settlement in lawsuit over RV parking restrictions released

City will begin enforcing the parking rules next month

Beginning Oct. 1, the city will begin enforcing rules that prohibit parked RVs and trailers on most city streets. Photo by Magali Gauthier

The city of Mountain View has officially settled a federal lawsuit this week challenging ordinances that prohibit oversized vehicles from parking on most public roadways, releasing the settlement agreement to the public Friday, Sept. 23. The settlement will be finalized once approved by the court.

The lawsuit took aim at a pair of ordinances – originally passed by the City Council in 2019 and then affirmed through the Measure C voter referendum in 2020 – which prohibits RVs and other large vehicles from parking on narrow streets and streets with bike lanes.

The ordinances have drawn criticism from homeless advocates who say the rules could push hundreds of homeless people out of the city who are currently living out of vehicles, while supporters of the rules point to the public health hazards caused by some RV dwellers.

Under the settlement agreement, the city must ensure that there are at least 3 miles of street segments with available parking capacity for oversized vehicles. Each street segment included within these 3 miles must have some parking capacity for oversized vehicles on both sides of the street.

Celerina Navarro, a Mountain View resident living in her RV and one of six plaintiffs in the class action suit, was pleased with the results of settlement negotiations, according to a statement from the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, one of the legal organizations representing the plaintiffs.

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“The outcome of the case is good because without this settlement, we would be facing the threat of displacement," Navarro said. "Now people can feel more at ease knowing that they can remain in Mountain View without being displaced.”

In a map released with the settlement, and available to view here, large swaths of the city’s streets have been marked in green, indicating that these are either narrow streets or streets with bike lanes. The city defines narrow streets as being 40 feet wide or less, which includes 470 of the city's 525 public streets.

A map indicating where oversized vehicle can and cannot park within Mountain View. Map courtesy of city of Mountain View.

Areas marked in gray are those where oversized vehicles are not prohibited. These include Old Middlefield Way, Terra Bella Avenue, part of Central Avenue and part of Leghorn Street, to name a few. As part of the settlement agreement, the city must maintain and update this map, which must be available in English, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

As for enforcement, the settlement states that an oversized vehicle in violation of the ordinances can only be towed immediately if the vehicle is parked in the path of traffic, blocking a driveway, or occupied by someone with repeat violations of the ordinances who has previously received three or more parking citations.

In all other situations, oversized vehicles may only be towed for violating the ordinances 72 hours after at least one parking citation has been issued.

Requests for reasonable accommodations based on disability relating to the ordinances “might come in the form of requests for additional time to come into compliance with the ordinances, and the city will consider such requests in good faith,” the settlement states, though the agreement does not require the city to grant those requests. “Requests for reasonable accommodations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable law.”

More generally, Mountain View police have discretion to provide more time to move RVs after issuing a citation if an officer determines there is "good cause," which could mean the occupant of the oversized vehicle hasn't received the notice, or a request by the RV occupant for additional time to address mechanic problems with the vehicle.

On attorney's fees, the settlement states that both parties will "attempt to negotiate plaintiffs' claim for attorney's fees and costs in connection with the prosecution and settlement of the action, which the city contests."

Erin Neff, lead policy attorney with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the suit in a statement.

“The city’s ban on RVs and other oversized vehicles was a draconian law that immediately towed people’s homes for just one violation of the law," Neff said. "This settlement provides protections and resources to people living in RVs, rather than punishment.”

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Editor's note: This story has been updated with statements from the plaintiffs.

Malea Martin
Malea Martin covers the city hall beat in Mountain View. Before joining the Mountain View Voice in 2022, she covered local politics and education for New Times San Luis Obispo, a weekly newspaper on the Central Coast of California. Read more >>

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Final settlement in lawsuit over RV parking restrictions released

City will begin enforcing the parking rules next month

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 23, 2022, 6:44 pm
Updated: Mon, Sep 26, 2022, 11:22 am

The city of Mountain View has officially settled a federal lawsuit this week challenging ordinances that prohibit oversized vehicles from parking on most public roadways, releasing the settlement agreement to the public Friday, Sept. 23. The settlement will be finalized once approved by the court.

The lawsuit took aim at a pair of ordinances – originally passed by the City Council in 2019 and then affirmed through the Measure C voter referendum in 2020 – which prohibits RVs and other large vehicles from parking on narrow streets and streets with bike lanes.

The ordinances have drawn criticism from homeless advocates who say the rules could push hundreds of homeless people out of the city who are currently living out of vehicles, while supporters of the rules point to the public health hazards caused by some RV dwellers.

Under the settlement agreement, the city must ensure that there are at least 3 miles of street segments with available parking capacity for oversized vehicles. Each street segment included within these 3 miles must have some parking capacity for oversized vehicles on both sides of the street.

Celerina Navarro, a Mountain View resident living in her RV and one of six plaintiffs in the class action suit, was pleased with the results of settlement negotiations, according to a statement from the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, one of the legal organizations representing the plaintiffs.

“The outcome of the case is good because without this settlement, we would be facing the threat of displacement," Navarro said. "Now people can feel more at ease knowing that they can remain in Mountain View without being displaced.”

In a map released with the settlement, and available to view here, large swaths of the city’s streets have been marked in green, indicating that these are either narrow streets or streets with bike lanes. The city defines narrow streets as being 40 feet wide or less, which includes 470 of the city's 525 public streets.

Areas marked in gray are those where oversized vehicles are not prohibited. These include Old Middlefield Way, Terra Bella Avenue, part of Central Avenue and part of Leghorn Street, to name a few. As part of the settlement agreement, the city must maintain and update this map, which must be available in English, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

As for enforcement, the settlement states that an oversized vehicle in violation of the ordinances can only be towed immediately if the vehicle is parked in the path of traffic, blocking a driveway, or occupied by someone with repeat violations of the ordinances who has previously received three or more parking citations.

In all other situations, oversized vehicles may only be towed for violating the ordinances 72 hours after at least one parking citation has been issued.

Requests for reasonable accommodations based on disability relating to the ordinances “might come in the form of requests for additional time to come into compliance with the ordinances, and the city will consider such requests in good faith,” the settlement states, though the agreement does not require the city to grant those requests. “Requests for reasonable accommodations will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable law.”

More generally, Mountain View police have discretion to provide more time to move RVs after issuing a citation if an officer determines there is "good cause," which could mean the occupant of the oversized vehicle hasn't received the notice, or a request by the RV occupant for additional time to address mechanic problems with the vehicle.

On attorney's fees, the settlement states that both parties will "attempt to negotiate plaintiffs' claim for attorney's fees and costs in connection with the prosecution and settlement of the action, which the city contests."

Erin Neff, lead policy attorney with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the suit in a statement.

“The city’s ban on RVs and other oversized vehicles was a draconian law that immediately towed people’s homes for just one violation of the law," Neff said. "This settlement provides protections and resources to people living in RVs, rather than punishment.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated with statements from the plaintiffs.

Comments

SalsaMusic
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:12 pm
SalsaMusic, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:12 pm

If it’s not movable, it’s not a motor VEHICLE. It’s garbage on the street and blocking parking for all the other residents. How did the driver get it there in the first place?


SalsaMusic
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:17 pm
SalsaMusic, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 3:17 pm

So, SIX miles (3 on each side) of parking. My math says we have to provide parking for 1000 RVs at 30 feet per RV. So the city council negotiated to support parking for 1000 RVs.

3 miles is El Camino from Grant road all the way to San Antonio Road (actually longer)

Nice work(????) ugh.


Jay
Registered user
another community
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:01 pm
Jay, another community
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2022 at 6:01 pm

Considering most of these dilapidated vehicles have no auction value and additionally present health hazards and are unlikely to be retrieved after towing, what incentive would a towing company have to remove them? If it’s for disposal I assume it’s a additional cost to the city, no?


kskyflyer2
Registered user
Stierlin Estates
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:35 am
kskyflyer2, Stierlin Estates
Registered user
on Sep 28, 2022 at 12:35 am

I feel they park to close to the corners and it is hard to see around them. I also think we keep building all these townhouses and businesses why can’t we build an area for these RV’s to park and charge a monthly fee for them to stay and have dumpsters to throw there trash so they don’t leave garage all over the streets.


Polomom
Registered user
Waverly Park
on Sep 29, 2022 at 2:29 pm
Polomom, Waverly Park
Registered user
on Sep 29, 2022 at 2:29 pm

@Jay, the city has a contract with one towing company. They pay the fee. Has been like this for at least 4 years.


MV Resident
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Sep 30, 2022 at 4:13 pm
MV Resident, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 4:13 pm

Mountain View has become the dumping ground for hard core homeless and criminals. Just yesterday a 22 year old from Oakland living in the RV parking lot of Evelyn attacked another man.
I have had close calls with RVs parked on curving narrow roads. The RV slum lords now have the green light to buy non-running RVs, and rent them out at $500+ a month. That was what was happening.

Lucas Ramirez and Hicks are big supporters allowing RVs on the streets. Please vote these two out as they are endangering the rest of us.


Beyond Disgusted
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2022 at 9:02 pm
Beyond Disgusted, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 19, 2022 at 9:02 pm

I cannot believe there was no other option for city leadership other than to designate miles of city streets for any motor home that wants to park there to park there. In just a few short weeks, I saw streets transformed into trailer parks when dozens of motor homes (almost all in terrible condition) relocated to Leghorn, Independence, and Wyandotte. Anyone going to Costco can readily see the decline. And saw signs go up prohibiting illegal dumping of waste. If this was not a reality the city had seen before, why the need to install such signs? I saw under one motor home pieces of soggy toilet paper - just confirms what the city knew was going to happen. And there are boats filled with junk, unhitched trailers left for dead, and lots of belongings the occupants leave around the motor homes which obstruct the street and sidewalk. It's beyond disgusting and unacceptable. These vehicles belong in proper locations off city streets where they pay for their space and receive necessary services, such as sewage disposal. Those living in homes, apartments, etc. don't have a free ride and can't do whatever they want so why should they?


Ann
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2022 at 11:48 pm
Ann, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2022 at 11:48 pm

Curious how the City chose the streets, it seems a bit like they chose the lower income neighborhoods, maybe even those neighborhoods that were the redlined neighborhoods. Will the City be doing extra outreach to ensure local parks like Klein Park won't become a place to dump extra garbage. The City chose not to put a bathroom in Klein Park because at the time they felt people would go home to go to the bathroom. But instead people would use the cinder block walls as a urinal. I'd love to see a follow up article about how the these streets marked to become mobile home parks will be maintained? What will the City do to help the residents who live in permanent housing on these streets not bare the brunt of any issues? At minimum, big vehicles on streets reduce visibility and make it more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists. But truly why are most of the streets on the north side of El Camino Real, protecting the wealthier parts of Mtn.View.


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