Mountain View will put up defense against ACLU lawsuit over RV ban, council says

MOUNTAIN VIEW — After a lengthy closed-door discussion, council members decided the city will put up a legal defense against a lawsuit filed by the ACLU which claims its narrow street RV ban is unconstitutional.

In a quick report after a nearly three-hour-long closed session discussion, Mountain View city attorney Krishan Chopra said that “as required by the city charter, the city attorney will continue defending the city in the lawsuit.”

The decision was disappointing, but not surprising, to RV dweller advocates who had hoped since the lawsuit was filed in July that the city council would not move forward with a formal legal defense in court and instead enter negotiations with plaintiffs in the suit.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, is being brought by six plaintiffs on behalf of all people who live in RVs and other oversized vehicles in the city.

They are part of a growing group of people in places like Pacifica, Palo Alto and Berkeley who have chosen to live in RVs on the side of the street amid an affordability crisis, many of them having been priced out of the area they know as home.

On July 14, Mountain View residents gathered outside city hall in protest of the city’s RV ban and to support the lawsuit, which argued that the ban is “unconstitutional” and “inhumane.”

Now the city attorney will be tasked with mountain a defense of the RV ban, which prohibits parking oversized vehicles and RVs on 444 of the city’s 525 total streets.

With about 57% of the vote in favor, Mountain View residents passed the ballot measure in November, and Mountain View in just weeks moved swiftly to enforce the ban by summer 2021. The first “no parking” signs are set to be put up this month in the city’s northwest side at the cost of nearly $1 million, and residents there are scared of being displaced.

Former Mountain View mayor Lenny Siegel said he expected Wednesday’s outcome.

“This still doesn’t prevent them from negotiating with the plaintiffs’ attorneys, and it’s probably what the court will direct,” Siegel said. “It’s no big surprise given the fact the voters supported this.”

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Author: Aldo Toledo