ACLU, Law Foundation of Silicon Valley sue Mountain View over “unconstitutional and inhumane” RV ban

Otto I. Eovaldi

Calling Mountain View’s parking ban on RVs and outsized motor vehicles “unconstitutional” and “inhumane,” the ACLU on Wednesday submitted a course action lawsuit versus the metropolis, just days prior to the initial “no parking” indications were set to go up across a great deal of the metropolis.

The lawsuit, submitted in the US District Courtroom for the Northern District of California, is remaining brought by 6 plaintiffs on behalf of all people who are living in RVs and other outsized motor vehicles in the city. The plaintiffs are aspect of a expanding group of men and women in destinations like Pacifica, Palo Alto and Berkeley who have picked to are living in RVs on the side of the avenue amid an affordability disaster, numerous of them owning been priced out of the spot they know as household.

On Wednesday, approximately a few dozen people today gathered exterior Mountain Perspective City Corridor –many of them keeping signs with messages like “housing is a human right” and “end the ban” — to protest the city’s RV ban and help the lawsuit, which also argues that the ban “disproportionately impacts persons with disabilities,” in violation of federal and condition regulation.

MOUNTAIN Look at, CA – JULY 8: Recreational Automobiles are parked alongside Gemini Avenue in Mountain View, Calif., on Thursday, July 8, 2021. Mountain View citizens a short while ago voted to ban RVs and oversized vehicles from avenue parking in most of metropolis. (Anda Chu/Bay Spot Information Team) 

In addition to the ACLU of Northern California, the plaintiffs in the Mountain See case are being represented by the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Incapacity Legal rights Advocates and pro-bono spouse King and Spalding.

Talking to the group and the push Wednesday, Michael Trujillo, a staff attorney at the Legislation Foundation of Silicon Valley, said RVs supply balance and shelter for men and women and families who if not would be homeless or displaced from their neighborhood.

“Silicon Valley is the best-profits location in the planet,” stated Trujillo. “Yet, the profits inequality and worsening housing crisis have pushed Mountain Look at citizens to find alternative means to continue to be housed. Everyone should have the chance to live and experience safe in their personal local community, irrespective of revenue amount.”

For the previous ten years, much more and extra people have opted to stay in RVs on the city’s streets instead than leave their hometowns. According to the previous rely by the city in July 2020, about 191 RVs are parked on the avenue and 54 RVs in protected parking plenty. It is unidentified if the populace of RV dwellers has amplified considering that the commence of the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2019, following yrs of grievances from some Mountain Check out residents, the town council adopted an ordinance banning oversized motor vehicles and RVs from 444 of the city’s 525 full streets. With advocacy from the city’s truthful housing proponents, the ordinance was quickly suspended after a thriving petition pressured the ordinance on the November 2020 ballot as Evaluate C.

Recreational vehicles and other trucks and vehicles are lined up the complete duration of Crisanto Avenue alongside Rengstorff Park in Mountain Look at on July 11, 2017. RVs have turn into an rising decision for the doing work lousy in the Santa Clara Valley as rents and mortgages have skyrocketed in excess of the past several years. (Everyday Information file) 

With about 57% of the vote in favor, Mountain Watch residents passed the ballot evaluate in November, and Mountain Check out in just months moved quickly to enforce the ban by summer months 2021. The 1st “no parking” signals are set to be put up this month in the city’s northwest aspect at the price of almost $1 million, and inhabitants there are scared of being displaced.

While the RV ban prohibits oversize automobiles from 83% of the city’s streets, an additional ban on parking oversize cars in streets with bicycle lanes can make it so about 90% of Mountain Watch streets are unavailable to RV people. The match states Mountain Check out enacted the ban “under the pretext of ‘traffic safety’ in buy to expel indigent populations” just after a long time of greater enforcement of parking rules that concentrate on the city’s auto people.

The go well with states that whilst only 69 citations were issued concerning 2015 and 2016 to individuals who did not shift their automobile immediately after 72 hours, extra than 328 were issued from 2016 to 2017. Additionally, 746 RVs were towed and impounded from 2015 to 2019 for a wide range of parking violations, and generally it expenses about $1,000 to reclaim a towed car or truck.

Celerina Navarro, a plaintiff in the fit who has lived in Mountain View for almost 20 several years and has two kids who show up at city’s faculties, had her motor vehicle towed in 2018 and compensated $1,200 to retrieve it. She mentioned Wednesday that “it’s really hard to reside every working day understanding your residence can be ticketed or towed.”

“This is my household,” she mentioned. “I was priced out of my condominium six many years in the past for the reason that of hire improves and I have lived in an RV considering the fact that then. Every single working day you live in fear about your safety.”

Bill Freeman, senior counsel at the ACLU of Northern California, claimed in an job interview Wednesday that his office environment has been in common call with the town about the ban considering the fact that Might 2019. He explained the team of legislation firms sent a cease-and-desist letter to the mayor and city council on June 7, 2021, demanding that the metropolis concur not to implement the ban. The metropolis responded by letter dated June 18, Freeman mentioned, declining to agree to the ACLU’s requires.

A guy skates previous a row of RVs where by people dwell in Mountain View, Calif. Flats throughout the avenue start at more than $3,000 a month. (AP Image/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (AP Image/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

On Wednesday, the city issued a assertion expressing they are at present analyzing the suit and have “no additional comment regarding the lawsuit alone.” The assertion suggests that” because of to their measurement, an outsized motor vehicle on a slender roadway can encroach into the vehicle lane of targeted visitors, which can raise the threat of collisions for motor vehicles and bicycles as well as make it far more tricky for unexpected emergency and crucial support autos to navigate the street safely and securely.”

The city, the statement states, will go on to conduct “multifaceted outreach” and present information about the city’s reasonably priced housing and safe parking applications.

“The ACLU of Nothern California is associated in this situation location-large,” Freeman stated. “The issue of banishing RV dwellers from communities — almost the overall metropolis of Mountain Watch — is unacceptable. Men and women who are living in RVs are living in frequent panic, so that type of anxiousness really impacts their lives.”

From Chico to Santa Cruz, Freeman reported the ACLU has found communities “that truly feel they can address their have challenges by pushing unhoused persons to the upcoming city,” and they are combating versus unconstitutional legislation that ban RVs or criminalize homelessness. In March, the ACLU submitted a accommodate on behalf of a team of RV-dwellers and civil rights activists against the town of Pacifica, fighting for the correct to park their homes on the city’s streets.

He believes a region-large solution to the prevalence of RVs need to be identified.

“Every local community has its individual distinct specifics, but what they all have in common is this idea that we just actually really do not want to have to deal with or see people today who are dwelling in RVs,” Freeman reported. “Litigation is kind of the minimum ideal option for resolving troubles, but if policy-makers and officials are not heading to comply with the structure, we’ll acquire motion.”

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