Plaintiffs seek injunction of RV ban

A federal court is scheduled to hear a motion that challenges Pacifica’s recreational vehicle overnight parking ban.

Three agencies, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Northern California, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County and Disability Rights Advocates, filed a preliminary injunctive motion pending trial for five plaintiffs who live in RVs and “all others similarly situated,” the motion reads.

The motion will be virtually heard at 2 p.m. on May 27 in the courtroom of Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco’s U.S. District Court.

The city enacted an oversized vehicle ordinance in December 2019. The stated reasons were to address traffic safety, as there were line of sight issues on some streets, and to address concerns about perceived aesthetics of RVs parking on the streets. The city started enforcing the ban last September.

Discussions about “safe parking” areas for RVs on public streets or in church parking lots in neighborhoods all ended, and ultimately the City Council did not propose any alternative location for RVs. The Unhoused in Pacifica Task Force charged with addressing that issue disbanded.

The court motion suggests that providing a dumping station for sewage, waste pickup, showers and potable water would be an affordable solution to address residents’ concerns.

It further states RV residents cannot find another affordable place to live and face escalating parking fines, threats of prison and impoundment of their vehicles. The first parking violation costs $100, the second $200, and a third offense can be considered a misdemeanor punishable with a $1,000 fine.

One plaintiff received five tickets, another a warning notice keeping her from visiting family. Another racked up $3,800 in fines and another $283 in fines while he sheltered in place from COVID-19, the motion states.

Another point in the motion addressed what the plaintiffs called “contradictory” information by law enforcement about where they could park. The motion states the director of Public Works has the authority to ban RV overnight parking where lack of aesthetics or loss of ocean views is a factor.

“The motion was filed to protect the plaintiffs from suffering irreparable injuries, such as losing their homes to towing, facing incarceration or being banished from friends and community support while the case is being litigated,” wrote Brady Hirsch, associate communications strategist of ACLU Northern California in an email to the Tribune.

City Attorney Michelle Kenyon cited the ongoing litigation in declining to discuss the motion.

— Jane Northrop

Man arrested with assault weapon

Late in the night on March 30, Pacifica Police stopped two men near Capistrano Drive and Rosita Road. In the process they found a loaded, unregistered weapon in the possession of a probationer who was free on condition that he consent to a search at police discretion.

The contact came at 11:19 p.m. Police searched 28-year-old Robert Nelson and found him in possession of what is sometimes referred to as a “ghost gun,” meaning an unregistered weapon. He was booked into county jail on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, illegal possession of an assault weapon and drug possession.

Police Capt. Bill Glasgo said an officer on patrol noticed Nelson and another individual on the street and made contact with the two; both were subject to probation search.

— from staff reports

Body found near Highway 1

Pacifica Police say they are investigating the death of a person found under a Highway 1 overpass on Sunday.

The body was reported about 10:20 a.m. on Sunday along San Pedro Creek underneath Highway 1. The body had not been identified as of Tuesday and police say they are continuing their investigation.

— from staff reports

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