Referendum petition successfully challenges so-called "RV ban" in Mountain View

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KGO) -- Recreational vehicles (RV) have sparked battles in several Bay Area cities as people turn to alternatives to deal with the soaring cost of housing.

It is one of the solutions ABC7 News is focusing on as part of an effort to build a better Bay Area.

Thousands of Mountain View residents helped to put the brakes on an ordinance many have long considered an "RV ban."

A referendum petition by members of the Mountain View Housing Justice Coalition (MVHJC) and the Silicon Valley Democratic Socialists of America received enough verified signatures to overturn the city's plans.

"That says a lot about people who had enough feeling for this to go and do that," Chuck Jagoda told ABC7 News.

Jagoda was previously homeless and is one of more than 100 to collect nearly 5,000 signatures over 30 days.

Signatures were submitted on Nov. 22 and needed to include 10% of voters to qualify.

In October, Mountain View City Council voted 4-3 to pass the ordinance which would've pushed people living in RVs or trailers from most residential streets.

RELATED: Mountain View to enforce restrictions on those living in 'oversized vehicles,' RVs and trailers

Defined by the City of Mountain View, an oversized vehicle is any vehicle, or combination of connected vehicle which exceeds 22-feet in length, 7-feet in height or 7-feet in width.

A narrow street is defined as any street measuring 40-feet wide or less. This would mean most residential streets within Mountain View.

Those we spoke with were split on the issue.

"It's a hard issue down here. People cannot afford to live in these neighborhoods," longtime resident, Merlin Julian said. "Even for myself, it's hard."

"The streets are just looking awful with them just lined, lined the way they are," Los Altos resident, Thomas Cunningham told ABC7 News. "I realize, even the businesses are impacted."

He continued, "You'd think that something would be done. It's been years now it seems like."

ABC7 News attended early council meetings on the issue. Footage captured beforehand shows rallies, well-attended by housing and homeless advocates.

Former Mountain View Mayor Lenny Siegel is one of several leading the charge in support of RV residents, with MVHJC.

He considers the development a victory, seeing that RV residents can remain.

"But there are a lot of people who would like to get rid of them," he told ABC7 News. "What's interesting is that people on both sides of the issue agree that we need to find a solution."

Council will consider petition results on January 14th.

They'll be forced to decide whether to repeal the ordinance or bring it to voters in November.

"As a result of that, the ban- the city ordinance- will not take effect unless it's approved by the voters," Siegel added.

"I think a majority of people don't want us to throw out our vehicle resident neighbors," he continued. "Most of them are people with jobs who just simply can't afford the rent."

Siegel described Mountain View as a community that has long treasured diversity, both economic and cultural diversity.

"I think most of the people are going to say, 'Don't throw people out unless they've got a place to go,'" he said.

ABC7 News has reached out to the City of Mountain View, and have not heard back. This web article will be updated to reflect any response.

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