BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
The Redwood City Council last night (Aug. 24) unanimously approved a two-year $1.7 million plan to open an overnight parking lot for 30-50 RVs, and a permit program for the remaining RVs to park on city streets.
The RVs that aren’t able to park next to the Maple Street jail, east of Highway 101, will have to move their RVs every five days.
RVs that park in the lot by the jail can only park from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. due to state law, according to Assistant City Manager Alex Khojikian.
Up to 110 RVs will get a permit from the city. This will reinstate a ban on overnight RV parking on city streets. It does not, however, ban people from sleeping in vehicles, said Capt. Ashley Osborne.
Some speakers thought it is a problem that the RV dwellers will have to move around, specifically relating to an upcoming street cleaning on Walnut Street, where many RVs park right now.
But RV resident Will Bosset said that moving around every few days is not a hardship for most in his situation. However, his main worry was finding parking for RVs during the day.
Meanwhile, council candidate Lissette Espinoza-Garnica criticized the program for potentially ticketing people if they don’t move their RVs and for not allowing felons into the program. City Community Services Manager Teri Chin confirmed that people convicted of a violent felony in the past two years would not be eligible for the program.
Aside from being able to park in the city or the lot, RV residents will be able to work with social workers who will help them find stable housing or other help they may need.
Chin said that the stable housing may come in the way of getting someone a space at an RV park, getting them housing vouchers, or finding ways to help people put down a security and first-month deposit on an apartment.
Others, such as a woman who only identified herself as Susan, said that the city really ought to run this program for longer than two years since it is likely more people will become homeless because of the economic recession caused by the coronavirus shutdown.
Councilwoman Diana Reddy said the program is for two years because that is the length of the city’s budget cycle. Reddy promised that as long as she is on council, some sort of program for helping the homeless will be in place.
The site of the RV lot is where the county wants to build a homeless shelter.
On July 13, the council discussed a land swap with the county government, but after pushback from residents who said that the land was purchased for a park.
The city is considering trading properties with San Mateo County to finish an extension of Blomquist Street west across Redwood Creek, thereby connecting the One Marina neighborhood to Seaport Boulevard. Ultimately, the council told City Manager Melissa Stevenson Diaz to look at trading a smaller amount of land or leasing land instead of giving it up.