The Cupertino (Calif.) City Council recently said “no” to a strict parking proposal that would have banned recreation vehicles from parking on residential streets after residents rallied together in opposition to the ordinance, according to the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News.
The new ordinance would have made it unlawful to park an RV on residential streets other than for immediate loading and unloading. Vehicles would have been subject to towing, citations or impound by code enforcement. Currently, cars are limited to 72 hours of consecutive of street parking.
The city said that there was concern about the larger recreational vehicles taking up parking for other vehicles and creating a safety issue when parked on corners.
“There were some complaints, and it was fairly difficult to enforce because under the current rules you can simply move under a 72-hour period and satisfy the current codes requirements,” said City Manager David Knapp.
Knapp told the council that code enforcement has a tough time enforcing the rules. City staff said when code enforcement goes out, residents claim they’ve already moved the RV and have simply re-parked it in the same spot, or some just move the vehicle a few feet or inches in the same location.
About five RV owners spoke out against the proposed law at the council meeting May 4, saying that the new ordinance was unlike anything else in the region. They said it was unfair to senior-aged RV owners and would have been unrealistic to enforce without erecting street signs so residents would know about the new rules.
Stuart Chessen, who owns a large RV, spread the word about the council meeting by scouring Google Maps, which posts overhead photographs of neighborhoods on the web. Chessen spent about an hour looking for parts of town that had RVs parked on the streets, and found about 11 vehicles. He went searching for some of the RVs and put fliers on their windshields, alerting the owners about the May 4 meeting.
“When we saw this ordinance, we knew wanted to get other RV owners notified about it, too,” said Chessen.
If the ordinance had been adopted, residents and visitors could have applied for a 10-day exception once a year from city hall. Owners could also park longer because of “special circumstances” at the discretion of code enforcement.
RV owner Bruce McFarland often stores his RV beside his house, but told the council the ordinance would have been awkward for friends and relatives driving their RV to visit people in Cupertino. He said that RV travelers often have loose traveling schedules and applying for a time-sensitive permit would be difficult to acquire and plan around.
The residents said that their recreational vehicles were more than just mobile hotels. Chessen uses his RV as a mobile emergency service center and also during events like the overnight Relay for Life at De Anza College. Joe DeRosa told the council that his RV is for everyday transportation because it is the only style of vehicle he said can accommodate his handicapped mother.
Resident Tom Hugunin, who does not own an RV, said he checked other nearby city ordinances and could not find anything on the scale of what Cupertino was proposing. He questioned why there was a sudden need to tackle RV issues if there was minimal complaints.
“I look at this situation and its like taking a chain saw to a situation where just a scalpel is needed. We just needed adequate code enforcement,” he said.
There were no speakers at the meeting complaining about RVs in their neighborhood, and city staff did not specify at the meeting the degree of neighborhood complaints on the issue.
“I haven’t heard a lot complaints about RVs in the town, probably because there are only seven around here and at least most of [the owners] are putting them in the right place,” said Councilman Mark Santoro.
Vice Mayor Gilbert Wong added, “If there was a concern about a blight issue or concerns about a safety issue, which I don’t see here in the city of Cupertino, then I don’t see why we need to have additional laws.”
The council unanimously agreed not to pursue the new rule