Santa Cruz Overnight RV Parking Ban Tabled
Original article published in the Santa Cruz Sentinel
September 22, 2021 at 4:22 p.m.
SANTA CRUZ — City leaders agreed Tuesday to table a controversial overnight parking ban proposed for city streets after lengthy discussion and debate.
The Santa Cruz City Council will resume the discussion at its Oct. 26 meeting, allowing city authorities to incorporate public comment into the ordinance and to begin work on potentially building a city-sanctioned vehicle overnight parking program. Per a motion passed unanimously Tuesday night — though Mayor Donna Meyers was not present — creation of a safe parking program was uncertain. Motion language introduced by ordinance coauthor Councilmember Renée Golder hedged on the issue, discussing a subcommittee assigned to explore a parking program, “should one be established as part of or outside any future ordinance.”
Councilmember Justin Cummings said he felt the ordinance needed reworking, citing concerns about unintended consequences to people who were not creating a public nuisance by putting “more people on the streets if their vehicles are towed and they have nowhere else to go.” He also raised concerns that the ordinance, as-is, would be appealed to the California Coastal Commission. He and Councilmember Sandy Brown urged their fellow council members to take their time reworking the law and not to rush back for a vote on the proposed ordinance.
“This homeless issue, this is a national issue and when we live in a community where homes that were once able to be purchased by working families are now only accessible by very affluent people because you have two-bedroom houses going for a $1 million and rents continue to go up while wages stay stagnant, we’re only going to see this situation get worse and we’re not going to be able to build our way out of it,” Cummings said.
Councilmember Shebreh Kalantari-Johnson said the proposed ordinance had been in the works for years by various council members and that not everyone would be happy with the outcome. She added that it was “out of the scope of the city to provide” health and human services that many in the public called for during the meeting Tuesday.
“I do believe that action is compassion because we can get sucked into a loop of finding the flaw, we can get sucked into a loop of not good enough, and those narratives have consumed our community and made us polarized and divided,” Kalantari-Johnson said. “Or we can put one foot in front of the other and launch and formalize a response that will continue to evolve. That’s what I’m interested in doing here.”