Mountain View looks for a place for RVs to park

RVs are parked day and night along many streets in Mountain View. File photo.

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

The 250 to 400 people who live in cars, vans and RVs in Mountain View could get a place to park in a designated lot away from aggrieved neighbors, according to city leaders.

City Council will hear an update on the city’s “safe parking” programs on Oct. 9.
Mayor Lenny Siegel, who is running for re-election on Nov. 6, said he wasn’t sure what that conversation would cover, but confirmed that the city was considering identifying a lot where a few dozen RV dwellers could park overnight.

One option would be for the city to lease lots from closed businesses, such as the SummerWinds plant nursery at 805 Yuba Drive or Orchard Supply Hardware at 2555 Charleston Road.

The SummerWinds property is in an industrial neighborhood within walking distance of Walgreens, Nijiya Market and Smart and Final.

Putting the RVs in a nonresidential neighborhood, but close to grocery and drugstores, would benefit the RV dwellers and keep the vehicles out of neighborhoods where residents may complain, Siegel said.

Because lots tend to sit empty for 12 or 18 months between leases, Siegel said the RV parking lot would likely have to move around every year or so.

Other options could include the Palo Alto Housing property on Linda Vista Avenue or the Shoreline Amphitheater parking lot during the off-season.

A church offers sanctuary

Since June, St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church on Grant Road has been lending four parking spaces overnight to people who live in cars, but not RVs.

But Siegel said neighbors in that area have already begun complaining about “having a few cars parked across the street from them at night.”

Planning Commissioner Lucas Ramirez, who is also running for council, told the Post on Wednesday that vehicle dwelling had been the top issue constituents wanted to talk about when he was campaigning door to door.

Ramirez said he has dealt with the vehicle-dwelling issue in his work as a policy analyst for the city of San Jose.

“Most vehicle dwellers are fairly savvy and know the rules and abide by them, so they move within the 72-hour limitation, and they generally find places where they’re not causing significant impacts,” Ramirez said. “They’re not in neighborhoods, but on the periphery.”

Complaints from some residents

Siegel said most people he’s talked to about the issue think the city is doing the right thing, but that some residents have complained that vehicle dwellers in general “aren’t paying taxes, they’re criminals, they came here for all of our free services.”

Last month, police arrested a man whose blue converted school bus contained meth, needles, drug paraphernalia and a pellet gun on Continental Circle, but Siegel said such stories are flukes and that most vehicle dwellers aren’t criminals.

Former Mayor John Inks, who is running again after two years off the council, criticized policies that encourage vehicle dwellers to stay in Mountain View.

Inks said he didn’t personally object to the RVs, but that he thinks the sanitation services provided by the Community Services Agency of Mountain View and Los Altos, which include laundry, showers and toilets, lure vehicle dwellers to town.

“I would not use surplus tax dollars that the council has used to subsidize the RVs on the streets, and I would kind of make sure that our policy is consistent throughout the city,” Inks said.

Councilwoman Pat Showalter, who is running for re-election, disagreed.
“I find it hard to believe that anybody finds a Port-a-Potty attractive,” Showalter told the Post. “That’s to meet a basic sanitation need. I don’t see that as an incentive.”

Showalter said she sees adding safe parking options for RVs as “one of the best things that can be done,” but that the goal should be to add supportive housing for the homeless to get them out of their vehicles and under a roof.

“I really feel like this is just one of the tendrils of the housing issue, and we need to create more housing,” Showalter said. “But it’s not just a Mountain View problem. The whole Bay Area needs to be doing it.”

7 Comments

  1. Dummies………. Tax the RV’s for parking in your town. Make the owners prove they are citizens of MV. If they can prove they are “homeless”, then find alternative solutions. But if they are “Google” employees………………TAX THEM.

  2. why are trying to move people into homes the solutions? then you just get into a battle of rent control; a policy MTV keeps trying to crush in favor of landlords.

    this really isn’t hard; get some of the richest companies in the world who are here to help with land. That is, BEFORE they move everyone to Sunnyvale & San Jose to avoid your minimal taxes on them. have a centralized location where services are available. Hell, you can even use the word ‘accountability’, which rent-hiking residents around here would love.

    your barbers, grocery store workers, and neighbors are the ones being priced out into RVS. it’s not just ‘scary people with needles’. not everyone who moves here is going to work in tech, you have to make room for the rest of us too.

    ‘#resist trump & the wall but NIMBY xenophobia is ok ;))))’ is the slogan I’m using when I run for mayor of mountain view, wish me luck

    • Your incoherent comment is a good illustration of liberal fantasy thinking. Resist Trump and the wall, so allow a flood of third-worlders to continue into California, and you think rent control is a solution? lol Stop the invasion of America by immigrants (including the Google H1-B scam), deport illegal aliens and rents will drop dramatically.

      • “Stop the invasion of America by immigrants (including the Google H1-B scam), deport illegal aliens and rents will drop dramatically.” < this is no blather- this is reality! I remember when it was not a matter of "what can we afford" but "which house do we want to live in". In my area today, there are no affordable single family homes because entire cities have migrated here, cities of impoverished persons suddenly on our land. I am no anti-migrant person, but I am anti-globalist redistribution of wealth person. These aren't the ones who built our country- these are simply laborers, nothing else, and most of them are illiterate even in their native language. This is a national economic issue that need be addressed seriously- without emotion as children argue, but with logic and reason- just as thinking adults argue.

        When you import un-educated, unskilled entire populations of 3rd world nations expect to have every speck of housing to be gobbled up by them. This is no racism, no xenophobia but clear cut facts. WeHAD no housing problem before.

    • Well said – no surprise that the “I’m not a racist mob” attacked your post. I bet they are all glad to be eating cheap veggies and having clean and tidy lawns and support for public transport services. You’ve got to love the “they aren’t the ones who built our country” ….I wonder if the poster understands that California was formerly part of Mexico and their were Spanish speaking people here many years before there were english speakers. No xenophobia !! Right !! 🙂

      • Ah- I see Angus, import immigrants for cheap labor? Is that what they’re for?? Laborers? They are human beings. What I am against is the globalist “income inequality” scheme which plans on importation of all impoverished into the first world, hence “solving” a non-existent problem. That plan impoverishes the first world while merely adding the 3rd worlders into a grand welfare scheme. It is dishonest to steal a person’s earnings to hand over to those that did not earn it- it is not humanitarian, it teaches that no one must try, all must beg.

        • Yes – nice straw man argument ….but even your answer to your own argument was basically gibberish. Capital moves to where labor is the cheapest and labor moves to where capital is available. The people you dismiss as “invaders” are the hardest working people in America and because they do work that Americans WILL NOT do you accuse them of taking welfare. I suggest you go to San Jose one morning at 6am and see how many people take the buses with their kids – most likely to day care and then on to work. I knew one lady who took 3 buses to work EVERY day and never missed a day. Every time I see someone begging at an intersection they are usually white.

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