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Indybay Feature
A Sneak Play Past the Community and Coastal Commission...Again
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
City staff is urging the Zoning Administrator to authorize and sanctify the reactionary City Council's latest RV ban (the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance). The hearing is being zoomed at 10 AM on Wednesday January 5th. Oppose it in writing now and prepare for an appeal!
BACK ON THE MERRY-GO-ROUND
In 2015, the City Council--on motion from Richelle Niroyan--passed a nighttime ban on RV's as part of the neo-liberal attack on unhoused folks, whose only home is their vehicle.
It's happening again ironically in the COVID pandemic particularly impacting those whose homes are their vehicles.

HISTORY OF THE LAST EFFORT
I wrote about this extensively in an appeal to City Council over five years ago.

"RV Nighttime Parking, "Littering", Street Vendors Again on Chopping Block Today at Council" at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/06/28/18788253.php

And another to the Coastal Commission itself:

"Unexpected Victory at Coastal Commission Overturning Nighttime RV Ban" at https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2016/08/11/18790030.php

The action passed, the City Council and the Zoning Administrator, and was recommended to the entire Coastal Commission for approval by the local Coastal Board. Some of us appealed the action and took the issue to the 11-member Commission.

APPEAL SUCCESSFULLY STOPPED THE BAN
Surprisingly the Commission withheld approval almost unanimously (one dissenting). It held that the City staffer Scott Collins (and the City Council) had failed to show a significant police problem requiring such a severe restriction to Coastal access. Nor did Collins show adequate alternate facilities for vehicle storage in the City.

For more than five years, City staff has not again sought approval of the RV ban, perhaps realizing the situation has not changed, and the Coastal Commission not so willing as some to be blind to the brutal bigotry of the ordinance.

Nor did staff this fall present any evidence of an increased crime problem necessitating restricting Coastal access. (Staff presented "complaints" but no stats of actual convictions)

However, here we are again with a reactionary City Council that thinks stringing words together that claim shelter and storage without actually providing it. In the midst of a COVID crisis, this is particularly irresponsible.

NO CHANGE IN ABSENCE OF RV FACILITIES
The situation has not changed in spite of the extensive and time-consuming paperwork fashioned in the OVO (Oversized Vehicle Ordinance). More than a month after the passage of this ordinance, no such facilities have appeared.

Churches and businesses exempted from the Camping Ban since 1995 have allowed a handful of vehicles to park in their lots. These do not now and have never provided adequate storage even for domestic unhoused residents, much less for visiting tourists or travellers.

Planned, hoped for, and anticipated facilities no more serve current RV owners than existing shelters and campgrounds serve the majority of the unhoused community.

While those who testified against the OVO may be eligible for an appeal to the Coastal Commission, it wouldn't hurt to weigh in at the Administrator's Hearing 10 AM Wednesday 1-5 on ZOOM just to be sure..

POSSIBLE OPTIONS
As usual for "health and safety" (apparently they don't think you can mask and distance), the City Council chambers will be closed, and this goes out by ZOOM.

PUBLIC COMMENT SHORT AND DIRTY
The pre-meeting Public Comment period ends at noon tomorrow (1-4) Act quickly if you want your objection to be "heard"--hopefully by the Coastal Commission in an appeal. It's unlikely the Administrator will do more than be a rubber stamp here.

You can use the form at https://www.cityofsantacruz.com/government/city-departments/planning-and-community-development/public-hearing-bodies-commissions/zoning-administrator or e-mail at cityplan [at] cityofsantacruz.com

The form provides options for "support", "support with concerns", or "concerns". No space apparently for "oppose".

FOR AGENDA AND MEETING MATERIALS https://ecm.cityofsantacruz.com/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Meetings/ViewMeeting?id=1829&doctype=1

During Meeting: 01/05/2022 10:00 AM
Call-In Feature - Visit the Zoning Administrator web page to read instructions on how to participate using the call-in feature at time of the meeting.
Zoom App and Mobile Device: Sign into the meeting, to listen, and comment using the zoom application on your mobile phone or tablet.
Meeting ID # 839 8953 5469
Click on Zoom link (no time delay): https://us06web.zoom.us/j/83989535469

If you'd like to, send me a copy of your criticism (or support) at rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com.
§Appeal Process
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Any members of the community or anyone concerned with the negative impacts of the OVO on Coastal Zone access can appeal a rubberstamping decision by the Zoning Administrator.

You can deliver a appeal form to the Coastal Commission at 725 Front St Ste 300,Santa Cruz, CA 95060. The form is no longer on line in the form it was some years ago, so call the local Coastal Enforcement authorities at (831) 427-4863 for more information and/or contact City Administrator Bonnie Bush at 420-5030.

The appeals procedure outlined on the January 5 Zoning Administrator's Agenda is as follows:

APPEALS: Any person who believes that a final action of this advisory body has been taken in error may appeal that decision to the City Council. Appeals must be in writing, setting forth the nature of the action and the basis upon which the action is considered to be in error, and addressed to the City Council in care of the City Clerk.

Appeals must be received by the City Clerk within ten (10) calendar days following the date of the action from which such appeal is being taken. An appeal must be accompanied by a six hundred ninety-nine dollar ($699) filing fee, unless the item involves a Coastal Permit that is appealable to the Coastal Commission, in which case there is no fee.

I suggest that since a Coastal Permit is required, this would be a free appeal.
§Specifics of the Agenda Item
by Robert Norse (rnorse3 [at] hotmail.com)
Item #2 (Public Hearing)
OVERSIZED VEHICLE ORDINANCE & SAFE PARKING PROGRAMS PROJECT NO. CP21-0174 CITY-WIDE

Coastal and Design Permit to amend the municipal code pertaining to the parking of oversized vehicles and to implement City-wide safe parking programs for unhoused City residents living in oversized vehicles licensed and registered in the City of Santa Cruz. Environmental Review: Categorical Exemptions: 15282-(j); 15301 Class 1-c, g; 15307; 15308 and 15061(b).

This project requires a Coastal Permit which is appealable to the California Coastal Commission after all possible appeals are exhausted through the City, or the Coastal Permit could be appealed directly to the California Coastal Commission separate from the Design Permit.

Recommendation: That the Zoning Administrator acknowledge the environmental determination and approve the Coastal and Design Permit subject to the findings listed in the Staff Report and the Conditions of Approval listed in Exhibit “A”.

The staff's justification for this latest end run around the Coastal Commission's 2015 decision can be found at
https://ecm.cityofsantacruz.com/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Documents/ViewDocument/CP21-0174%20COASTAL%20AND%20DESIGN%20PERMIT%20TO%20REGULATE%20OVERSIZE%20VEHICLE%20PARKING%20-%20STA.pdf?meetingId=1829&documentType=Agenda&itemId=19972&publishId=26590&isSection=false

The absence of real storage facilities for vehicles, real services for unhoused people, and real crime data justifying the more draconian restrictions for "oversized" vehicles is as it was in 2015. A compliant City Council apparently had no problem with these deficiencies and the likelihood of being struck down by an appeal to the Coastal Commission. Even in the midst of a shelter emergency made worse by a continuing pandemic.

For full agenda see https://ecm.cityofsantacruz.com/OnBaseAgendaOnline/Meetings/ViewMeeting?id=1829&doctype=1
§Update
by Robert Norse
https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2022/01/08/18847199.php
Execution Delayed But Not Reversed: OVO Up for Rubberstamping 1-12
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