Mountain View residents could vote on RV rules in an April election

A man skates past a row of RVs in Mountain View. AP file photo.

By the Daily Post staff

Surprise, surprise.

It looked like the repeal of an ordinance limiting RV parking on Mountain View streets was headed for the November ballot.

But City Clerk Lisa Natusch has sent a memo to City Council members saying they could put the question to the voters in a special election on April 14.

What’s the difference between April and November? The November election will have a long ballot starting with the president at the top and dozens of races below including the city council. Turnout should be high.

On the other hand, a special election in April would have only one question, and voter participation might be low.

Former Mayor Lenny Siegel, who led the repeal effort, said moving the vote to a special election in April could improve the chances of the law surviving.

“Conceivably, they think there will be lower turnout in April,” Siegel said.

Council has until Friday (Jan. 17) to make a decision about whether to put the RV ban to voters in April or November.

Holding a special election in April would cost between $1.29 million and $1.81 million, Natusch said in her memo.

The number of RVs on the streets of Mountain View has been steadily rising over the past few years. On Sept. 24, council voted 4-3 to ban vehicles wider or taller than seven feet from parking on streets narrower than 40 feet.

Council members Margaret Abe-Koga, Lisa Matichak, John McAlister and Ellen Kamei voted in favor of the ordinance. Voting against were Chris Clark, Alison Hicks and Lucas Ramirez.

Then a group of activists, led by Siegel, gathered nearly 5,000 signatures on petitions to repeal the ordinance. Once the signatures were verified as registered voters, council had two choices — repeal the ordinance or put it to the voters.

The law has not gone into effect because of the petition drive. It will become effective if voters reject the repeal.

At this point, the ballot for the March 3 presidential primary is already set, so the only options for an election date are April 14 or Nov. 3, according to the city clerk.

Council could make a decision at its meeting on Tuesday.

4 Comments

  1. I’m very disappointed that your weekend printed paper described this ordinance as an “RV Ban.” It is neither a ban nor is it directed at RVs. I know you need to use short titles, but that was inaccurate and ignores the primary purpose of the Narrow Streets Oversize Vehicle Restrictions, which is safety for vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians while improving reliability and response times of paremedics/firefighters.

    • If a vehicle is over 7 feet and the street is narrower than 40 feet, then it is definitely BANNED. Banned means it is no longer allowed. Kudos to the press for calling a spade a spade. If something is prohibited it’s a ban. Next.

      • You do realize that these vehicles are not inspected? It’s not OK to put a porta potty in the corner of your garage and rent it out as ‘housing’, it is also NOT OK to condone ‘housing’ without heat, light or sanitation. Call it a ban, fine by me but the organizations like Silicon Valley Comm Fondation need to STEP UP and use some of their 13 Billion in assets to get these people into stable housing. If you refuse help, clearly you do not need it.

  2. Fighting for the right for someone to live on the streets in a decrepit RV is irresponsible and misguided, no matter how well-intentioned. Instead of misrepresenting the issue by collecting signatures under the guise of ‘helping homeless people’ Lenny should be lobbying the Silicon Valley ‘Community’ Foundation to part with some of their 13 BILLION (yes, Billion) in assets to help relocate these people into stable housing. SVCF is located IN Mountain View, this issue is in their backyard, where was their leadershp last night at the council meeting? The silence is deafening.

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