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Mountain View City Council reapproves RV ban, with enforcement set to begin in April

Original post made on Dec 9, 2020

Calling it a clear mandate from voters, the Mountain View City Council voted 7-0 Wednesday morning to reinstate its RV parking ban on most city streets, along with a roadmap for enforcement beginning in April.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 12:28 PM

Comments (23)

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Dec 9, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Gary is a registered user.

I did not stay awake long enough to hear the agenda item. I had suggested in an email posted online by the City in connection with the item that the project was not exempt from CEQA as having no foreseeable environmental effect BECAUSE vehicle owners may just move to wider streets in the City. But if no one else raised the issue, the City cannot be sued on that basis - as I am not suing. As to the threats to sue by some groups previously, I see online that Santa Barbara was sued over a similar ordinance in federal court on various theories: USDC Central District of California, case number 2-18-CV-08120. Any lawyer or non-lawyer thinking of suing should look up papers filed in the case.


Posted by HighProof
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2020 at 2:48 pm

HighProof is a registered user.

"When people vote they expect -- they demand -- that we implement the law that they voted for," said Councilman John McAlister. "And if you disagree or agree with it, that's part of democracy. The majority rules."

Oh yeah? how are those recreational cannabis stores coming? We the people have spoken!


Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 9, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Otto Maddox is a registered user.

Enforcement begins in April?! It needs to start immediately.

They're going to slow roll this until June.. and put it on that ballot. You just watch.


Posted by AD-MTVResSince2001
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2020 at 3:22 pm

AD-MTVResSince2001 is a registered user.

I agree that RV removal should start promptly. Furthermore, wouldn't it be far easier and less costly to have City Council create an ordinance banning RVs from all streets except where authorized, and then only have to put up signs on the 91 streets that are wide enough. 91 is 21% of the 435 streets that would have signs posting the restriction. This would save $775,000 (21% of $980,000) of materials and labor, and achieve the same objective and faster.


Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Dec 9, 2020 at 3:30 pm

Polomom is a registered user.

@AD-MTVResSince2001 Amen! The implementation needs a more cost efficient approach!


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Dec 9, 2020 at 8:55 pm

Gary is a registered user.

Don't confuse the City Council with facts. There are already laws against parking from 2am-6am, sleeping in a vehicle, not moving a vehicle for 72 hours and parking in or near a bike lane. But they like the ban on "oversized" vehicles and trailers and boats better. It is made to look like a safety measure.


Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Dec 9, 2020 at 10:04 pm

Polomom is a registered user.

@Gary. Sleeping in vehicles was always allowed in MV. The code was retired in the early 2000’s. The 72 hour rule was only enforced if there was a specific complained. It usually took a week before anything happened. The 2 to 6 am is only on certain streets, not many. The bike boulevard and now the width rule are the only thing enforceable as of ? I thought with the election. Might not be that way, more RV will be moving in before April.


Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Dec 9, 2020 at 10:10 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

Very sad to see us pro-actively spend a million of taxpayer dollars on 2,600 new signs of this sort. In the pandemic, there are so many more urgent things to fund. I didn't vote for the ban, but I understand the city council needs to enforce the ordinance. Is there not a way to enforce the law without spending a million on new signs of this nature?


Posted by Local
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Dec 9, 2020 at 11:02 pm

Local is a registered user.

I am puzzled at the use of the word "ban", as oversized on-street vehicles are not "banned" in Mountain View - there are several streets still allowed, there are three Safe Lots, and the City is having Project HomeKey (100 units) available the end of April at the latest. This is much more than ANY other city in the area has done.
Several speakers from surrounding cities attended the Zoom meeting and lectured our Council that MV must not limit the numbers of street dwellers and they should be allowed to park anywhere in Mountain View. I have a request for these out of town speakers - why doesn't YOUR city set up Safe Lots, offer water, sewage and trash removal, and police protection for those who work in your city but moved their RVs to Mountain View because YOUR city prohibits it 100%? Do you honestly think it is Mountain View's continued responsibility to cover the expense of your people?
The Democratic Socialists and other groups who made demands of Mountain View taxpayers at the Zoom Council Meeting - to cover the expense for every street dweller, no matter where s/he originated - should spend their time convincing Palo Alto, Los Altos, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Menlo Park, etc. to step up and take care of their own. Mountain View is compassionately caring for ours... now other cities need to do the same.


Posted by HAB
a resident of Willowgate
on Dec 9, 2020 at 11:05 pm

HAB is a registered user.

What an absolute waste of taxpayer dollars without providing a solution for those who are being further impacted by this pandemic. We live in a regressive city that penalizes poverty and supports big developers. What kind of community are we that we push people out of our community because developers and city council have made it impossible for workers to live in Mountain View. We can't only value engineers and call ourselves a community. We increase police budgets and pay a million dollars for signage instead of addressing root causes.


Posted by CC
a resident of Gemello
on Dec 9, 2020 at 11:09 pm

CC is a registered user.

@Christopher Chang I am very sad to see you criticize $1M spent on signs when $3.5M/year is spent by the city of MV to support the RV dweller services via safe parking and permanent housing transition services. And I find it odd that those who oppose Measure C are not applauding the city's Herculean effort to leverage Project Home key funds to make 100 transitional housing units in MV operational by April 2021. No other Peninsula city is doing that . In fact many cities are rejecting the Project Homekey funds so they don't have to deal with the homeless.

In contrast, MV is embracing the challenge of finding permanent housing for the unstably housed. Where were the kudos from the RV dweller supporters regarding that effort at council meeting last night? Why are these same critics of Measure C not advocating for a regional approach to homelessness (RV dwellers, project HomeKey funding, etc) at other city council meetings such as Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Palo Alto?

Finally, I am disappointed you are using your school board notoriety to advocate for city of MV policy issues. I voted for you for school board....maybe I shouldn't have given you are taking positions on contentious city issues that have nothing to do with your newly elected role. And please remember Measure C passed by a very solid majority. Please stick to education and MVWSD policy issues.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Dec 9, 2020 at 11:35 pm

Gary is a registered user.

The city has restrictions on parking and/or living in vehicles in Municipal Code sections 19.71, 19.72 and 19.111 - apart from the ordinance about bike lanes and the ordinance on "oversized vehicles" just okayed by voters and approved by the city council - this time unanimously.


Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 10, 2020 at 11:41 am

Lenny Siegel is a registered user.

I am frustrated by the misinformation that anonymous people post on this message board. I and many other opponents of the so-called “Narrow Streets” ordinance have been trying to find regional solutions to our housing and homelessness crisis for years.

I personally have talked to Council members in other cities, because contrary to what you might read here, neighboring cities also have large numbers of people living in vehicles on their streets. In 2019, after I lost my re-election bid, the Silicon Valley Community Foundation invited me to a regional meeting to promote safe parking on the Peninsula. At that meeting, I offered positive ideas for regional cooperation. However, our mayor at the time said she would not attend future meetings if I was invited back. I also serve on Santa Clara County’s Housing Bond Oversight Committee. In fact, we’re Zoomeeting today.

The opponents of Measure C are the ones who initiated Safe Parking in Mountain View. Pat Showalter and I proposed the Shoreline Amphitheater parking lots at least four years ago. The Council proponents of Measure C only came around when they needed a fig leaf for their restrictive approach. Most, if not all of the people who provide services to homeless and vehicle dwellers oppose restrictions, at least until there are more suitable places for vehicle residents to go in our community.

As for Project Homekey, all of the people I know support it. In fact, I’m the one who put the property owner in touch with the City, in 2018 when I was mayor. I knew her from my work to save Hangar One. However, it’s questionable whether many Mountain View vehicle residents will qualify. Homekey, statewide, is designed for people who are living directly on the streets, by creeks, etc.

Many of us, such as those of who own our homes in Mountain View, have benefited from the tech boom. Even during COVID we are doing relatively well. But the employment expansion has made it difficult for many of our residents, people working in restaurants and services, to compete in the housing market. We need to do more than evicting them or providing “case management” that throws them out of town. That should include donations to groups such as the Reach Potential Movement as well as advocacy for safe parking on wide streets and additional public and private lots.


Posted by MogensLauritzen
a resident of Gemello
on Dec 10, 2020 at 1:20 pm

MogensLauritzen is a registered user.

Dream on if you for a moment believe the new ordinance will move RV folks out of sight. The RV's will be replaced with models that measure 21ft-11in length, 6ft-11in high, and 6ft-11in wide - a "Tiny RV". You cannot stem a river. It will find ways to flow! This problem is much more difficult to fix than a simple ordinance.

Cheers - ML


Posted by Mary
a resident of North Whisman
on Dec 10, 2020 at 3:58 pm

Mary is a registered user.

What’s the commotion all about? I saw the narrow street list, some of our streets are not affected by Measure C. Frankly, why not move there?

We have safe parking lots and an upcoming transitional homes. Help is given to those who ask for it & those who can show their IDs and follow the program.

And hey, if you can afford to buy a smaller RV, you don’t need help. I cannot afford to buy an RV, mind you!

I cannot support RV dwellers who cannot show their IDs. For all I know, they are fugitives or sex offenders lurking near our schools and parks.


Posted by Alexander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Dec 10, 2020 at 7:39 pm

Alexander is a registered user.

To the people commenting here, I'd encourage you to spend some time speaking with your neighbors and fellow community members who live in RVs. Most do not own the RVs - they rent them from predatory landlords - because they simply cannot afford an RV, even used. Many do not have IDs, nor do they have the ability to drive. They are at the mercy of their landlords moving the RVs.

The notion that Mountain View is doing more than surrounding communities only makes sense if you spend all your time gazing at Los Altos. When I lived in EPA, there were maybe 20-30 RVs on my street, and they have since instituted safe parking. El Camino in front of Stanford is packed with RVs (largely nurses who work at the med center).

The fact is, there's a homelessness crisis in the Bay. Everyone needs to be doing more to address it, and that should start right here. I would much prefer the city council spend the $1mn on homeless services. And I pray that the COVID crisis has abated by April, because forcing people out of their homes during a pandemic is one of the dumbest things I've seen this city do.


Posted by Mark
a resident of Shoreline West
on Dec 10, 2020 at 7:49 pm

Mark is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by sonnyt650
a resident of Castro City
on Dec 11, 2020 at 8:21 am

sonnyt650 is a registered user.

I personally haven't benefited from the tech boom in Mountain View as my employers over the past thirty years have all been in other local cities. Because I'm not wealthy enough to retire elsewhere, I have to stay in my home so that rising property prices mean nothing to me. I am not rich by any realistic measure, and neither are those service segment workers with whom I interact within the city borders. Do not promote our city's tech benefactors as reasons to be thankful for living in Mountain View over other cities since this has little relevance for those of us that continue to work for a living. As others have said, provide for charities yourselves before offering up the community's limited resources over our objections.


Posted by MV neighbor
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 11, 2020 at 9:14 am

MV neighbor is a registered user.

Claiming credit for the safe parking program by former board member? Pat, Lenny, and Ken had a working majority for four years, and had little to show for efforts. They spent countless hours on the “Lots of Love” project which while very nice, was never going to reach the scale of parking that the current board had achieved with its two large safe parking projects. The old board did spend time and money on the tiny temporary lot that just opened this year. But they voted down a resolution several years ago to have the city staff develop options for dealing with the RVs...which made me laugh when I saw the antiC campaign signs that said “a plan not a ban!” What plan? They set up a failed project to remove waste from RVs, pushed the police to ignore the 72 hour parking laws for RVs, and said that we couldn’t get a census of who was living in the RVs because of privacy concerns...maybe running car registrations would have told us how many were registered in Central Valley to people who had homes there. If the former board had used its majority to get these safe parking lots up and running, protecting bike lanes and limiting all parking around our city parks to 3 or 4 hours, voters might not have been fed up enough to pass measure C.


Posted by Lenny Siegel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Dec 11, 2020 at 10:08 am

Lenny Siegel is a registered user.

How is three a working majority? McAlister and the City Manager promoted church lots over Shoreline Amphitheater. That set us back. But it helped lay the groundwork - figuring out insurance, for example - for what we have now.
City staff kept ignoring input from vehicle residents, who explained why mobile waste collection was superior to forcing people to drive their vehicles across town.
Finally, the City Attorney's office insisted that 24-7 lots would be subject to Mobile Home Park regulations, when state law clearly states that those only apply when rent it charged. It took County cooperation and the pandemic to break through that.


Posted by JustAWorkingStiff
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2020 at 2:06 pm

JustAWorkingStiff is a registered user.

Council is making the correct decision by implementing Measure C now

A vote was taken by the entire city
Council should proceed despite delaying actions by opponents.
Whether you SIP on the streets, or in Safe Parking, SIP in an RV is doable.

Lenny Siegel's team initiated the RV's from anywhere, to stay anywhere policy
They actively opposed allowing the entire city to vote this issue
That was bad. Clearly there were disagreements, and putting it to the vote of the entire city was the right thing to do to come to a city wide decision on a significant issue.

Yet, here we are rehashing the issue

Lenny's team should respect the vote of the entire city, and let City Council proceed with implementation without unnecessary hinderances that waste time and money. If they have constructive suggestions that lower costs and speed implementation, that is fine. An example of a good suggestion is reducing signage costs that has been previously posted.

Another constructive implementation point is RV dwellers should cooperate with city workers in identifying their needs and their characteristics. Are they former MV resident, do they own their own RV, or is it being rented to them by out of towner?
What kind of help do they need? Family with kids unable to afford housing? Out of work and need help re-entering workforce. Do they have a drug or mental health problem? If they want to stay in MV and use tax payer resources, then they should cooperate. Then the city can provide the appropriate resources. I don't buy the privacy excuse for non-cooperation. This is Silicon Valley. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. And if we are expending taxpayer money, we should be able to gather data and to guide the management of social programs. The city already spent $2.5 M over a 5 year period and should be able to collect data that guides the usage of these funds. At this point, Lenny's team should help the city implement. Let's see if he helps or hinders implementation of the city wide vote.


Posted by gretchen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Dec 11, 2020 at 3:02 pm

gretchen is a registered user.

For the first time in 45 years I am ashamed to live in Mt. View. I moved here because it was a diverse, caring, working class city. Now as we enter the holiday season some in our city do not have food, heat, housing or toys for their kids but we as a less caring city tell them to get out. I am so glad that an inn keeper many years ago found a place for folks just like these. Not a perfect place, but a place. People in RVs clean our houses, tend our gardens, wash dishes in our restaurants, work in our nursing homes, and keep fast food available during a pandemic. Many are the essential workers we applaud. We love them for these task but tell them to go home at night, anywhere except our city. We do not want them cluttering our streets.

As for democracy speaks--I agree--I also know that democracy sometimes makes mistakes.


Posted by Prepare for Riots?
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2020 at 8:55 pm

Prepare for Riots? is a registered user.

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


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