A proposed class action alleges the city of Mountain View, California’s plan to enforce a ban on the parking of oversized vehicles on its streets is unconstitutional and has made it “virtually impossible for persons who must live in their RVs to do so.”
As a result of skyrocketing housing prices in Mountain View, an effect the suit says is a direct result of the “increasing affluence” of some in the city, many long-time residents have been priced out of the housing market and forced to live in recreational vehicles parked on streets, the lawsuit begins. Six plaintiffs allege in the 36-page lawsuit that the position of Mountain View, who boasts as corporate residents tech giants such as Alphabet, Google, Symantec, Mozilla, Intuit, Microsoft and LinkedIn, that its ban on parking oversized vehicles, namely RVs, on its streets is motivated by traffic safety is mere pretext, and that the two components of the ban, a “bike lanes” ordinance and “narrow streets” ordinance, serve only to banish the Silicon Valley municipality’s low-income populations.
As the plaintiffs tell it, Mountain View’s hostility toward RVs has been increasing over the last several years while little else is being done to combat a drastic increase in homelessness.
“Rather than implementing long-term and sustainable affordable housing programs to protect its lower-income residents, the City seeks to expel its indigent residents whose life circumstances require them to live in their vehicles,” the complaint says, noting that violations of either ordinance result in immediate towing and impoundment in addition to excessive vehicle reclamation fines. The lawsuit says 746 RVs were towed and impounded in Mountain View from 2015 to 2019.
“Plaintiffs live in fear of having their vehicular homes, and nearly all their possessions, towed by City authorities for violating the OSV Ban,” the lawsuit reads.
According to the suit, the “narrow streets” ordinance makes it illegal to park oversized vehicles on any Mountain View street that’s less than or equal to 40 feet in width, while the “bike lanes” ordinance makes it illegal to park on any streets with Class II bikeways. An “oversized vehicle” is defined under the Mountain View City Code as any vehicle that exceeds 22 feet in length, or seven feet in width, or seven feet in height, per the case.
While the ban on parking oversized vehicles is slated to take effect in the second half of 2021, the impending enforcement creates “significant uncertainty” in the lives of proposed class members, the plaintiffs contend, asking the court to enjoin the towing of residential RVs “before the threatened injury occurs.” The plaintiffs allege the oversized vehicle ban is unconstitutional under California and federal law in that it “violates the inalienable rights” of those forced to seek shelter in RVs in Mountain View in order to remain in the city and access medical care, schools, employment and other resources. Moreover, the suit charges that the RV parking ban violates guaranteed protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act for disabled residents.
According to the suit, which was filed by attorneys working with the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California and Disability Rights Advocates, there are at least 11 families residing in RVs in Mountain View with children enrolled in the Mountain View – Los Altos School District. As another example, three plaintiffs have health conditions that require them to live within close proximity to their medical facilities, the case adds. The impending RV parking ban disproportionately affects those with disabilities, the lawsuit claims.
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