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RV Dwellers Could Be Kicked To The Curb In San Rafael

SAN RAFAEL (KPIX 5) -- A new ordinance could kick people in the North Bay who live in RV's straight to the curb.

The RV's that line San Rafael's Kerner Blvd are not there for camping, but for those homeless who are lucky enough to have a way to get off the sidewalks.

The same thing happens on Jacoby Street. But, when local businesses began complaining about garbage and waste dumping, city hall listened.

In July, the City Council approved a ban on what they refer to as "RV and oversized vehicles" parking on city streets.  The warning tickets being placed on the RV's say the ban applies to any vehicle over eight feet tall, and restricts parking to one hour, or the time it takes for loading or unloading.  But, not everyone is behind the plan.

"You cannot criminalize an activity that is basic to life. That goes against the 8th Amendment," David Snyder, Executive Director of Legal Aid of Marin said.

Snyder says the fact that the ordinance allows homeowners to get a permit to park an RV for themselves or a guest is evidence that this is meant to target only the homeless.

"Where this is basically the home unit of these individuals, you're prohibiting them from being able to sleep … and to have as a basic human right, that element of life," Snyder said.

The ordinance may have cast a little larger net than it intended.

"How am I going to survive?! How am I going to feed my family?" Sheikh Seesay said.

Seesayh uses his RV to save a spot for his taco truck and says both vehicles would be banned by the new law.  He's gotten warning tickets every other day for two and a half months.

"They don't want anybody that is poor. They don't want anybody that is black.  They don't want any other other ethnic community but whites.  That's all they want here," Seesay said.

The ordinance will not be fully enforced until September 19th, and Legal Aid of Marin says it hopes to arrange a compromise before then.  If not the city may be headed to court.



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