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Petition: Repeal the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance
by Out with OVO!
Santa Cruz Cares is calling on all our neighbors to take a stand against the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance (OVO)!

Sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/repeal-the-oversized-vehicle-ordinance
out-with-ovo-santa-cruz-oversized-vehicle-ordinance.jpg
Background:

Santa Cruz Cares is calling on all our neighbors to take a stand against the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance (OVO).

Our neighborhood group filed an appeal to the California Coastal Commission to block OVO from receiving its Coastal Design Permit, which the City needs in order to begin enforcing these deeply harmful parking restrictions in the Coastal Zone (e.g. Delaware Ave, Shaffer Rd, Natural Bridges, where many larger vehicles currently park).

We are not alone in our opposition to this ordinance. As our appeal landed in the hands of Coastal Commission staff, it was accompanied by another authored by ACLU NorCal and Disability Rights California (DRC).

This is where you come in.

We need your help to let the Coastal Commissioners know that criminalizing policy like OVO has no place in our community!

For our appeal to have the best chance at being successful, we will need the support of the community behind us. You can help us by signing and sharing so we can get as many signatures as possible by July 1st!

Please sign and share!

...................................................

Below is an overview of what OVO is and why we are fighting it:

The Oversized Vehicle Ordinance (OVO) is a discriminatory parking permit program, restricting unpermitted vehicles from parking on city streets from 12am to 5am if they are either longer than 20ft, taller than 8ft, or wider than 7ft.

OVO was explicitly designed to make it harder for unhoused people, whose only shelter is a vehicle, to exist in the City of Santa Cruz by simultaneously restricting where and when they are allowed to park and increasing civil and criminal penalties for minor offenses often associated with poverty and a lack of access to city resources. While many of these penalties already exist in California vehicle code, their enforcement is well known to target people living in poverty, and the practice often leads to the towing and permanent loss of people’s homes via what legal scholars refer to as “poverty tows”.

Permits can only be requested by residents of the City of Santa Cruz who have a "street address". This appears to be a definitive way of preventing unhoused residents from requesting a parking permit. Even if you have a permit, however, you are still only allowed to park your vehicle on City streets for up to 12 days per month, relocating every 72 hours.


Who are some of our unhoused residents living in vehicles?

* Elderly poor, or chronically disabled, who receive Social Security or SSDI, but can not find an affordable rental

* CZU fire victims who could only afford to purchase an RV after they lost their home and cannot afford market rate rent

* UCSC students who can not find a rental they can afford, even when crowding together, two or three individuals per bedroom

* Families who contribute to our local workforce who are paid too little to either afford local rents or commute back-and-forth every day from miles away for work


You may have also heard that the OVO creates "safe parking sites," providing a location for unhoused residents to be and receive services at night, and that this mitigates the criminalizing impacts of the OVO.

Though the City is making more safe parking sites available, which we should all be supportive of, the provision of these safe parking sites is not contingent on OVO's continued existence. Nor are the specific services, capacity, or rules developed by the City Manager for these sites codified into law or meaningfully tied to need.

Safe parking sites are entirely developed, staffed, and serviced at the discretion of the City Manager, and thus could be rolled back or defunded at any time, while the harmful penalties and restrictions placed on residents by the OVO parking permit program would remain intact.

To make clear how unaccountable the City is to its promises of safe parking, the term "safe parking" is not even defined in the OVO; a telling omission, given the amount of specificity that was placed on the term "resident", which plays a central role in the OVO excluding unhoused residents from requesting a parking permit.


Only one subsection of the ordinance discusses the provision of safe parking, and it states:

"10.40.120(m) City Operated or Sponsored Safe Parking Programs. In addition to the private property allowances authorized through Chapter 6.36.030, the City may operate, sponsor, or authorize safe parking programs for vehicles on any City owned or leased properties in the City, or any City-sanctioned private parking lots. The City Manager shall develop a policy that establishes operational criteria for safe parking programs. City Operated or Sponsored Safe Parking Programs. In addition to the private property allowances authorized through Chapter 6.36.030, the City may operate, sponsor, or authorize safe parking programs for vehicles on any City owned or leased properties in the City, or any City-sanctioned private parking lots. The City Manager shall develop a policy that establishes operational criteria for safe parking programs."


Though this subsection would seemingly grant the City some new authority to create safe parking programs, this is not the case.

In the staff report for the drafting meeting of the OVO on September 21st, 2021, City staff notes several pre-existing safe parking sites that were either authorized (e.g. "safe parking on commercial lots"), sponsored (e.g. "safe parking at AFC"), or operated by the City (e.g. "safe parking at the police station").

Given that none of these projects were voted on by the City Council, we also know that these sites must have been developed autonomously by the City Manager's department.


To recap:

* OVO is a discriminatory parking permit program which makes it impossible to own a large vehicle in the City of Santa Cruz unless you have a driveway to park it in

* OVO cruelly targets unhoused residents like students, working families, and the elderly poor, whose only shelter is a vehicle, making it easier for police to ticket and tow them, dramatically increasing housing instability for an already vulnerable group of people

* OVO is not a safe parking bill, safe parking sites that the City develops are entirely untethered to this ordinance's existence, and the punitive restrictions and criminal penalties of this law will remain intact even if safe parking sites are taken away


Santa Cruz Cares asks you to join us in our demand to repeal the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance. OVO will inflict significant harm on many in our community. It does not reflect the values of a community that seeks to embody the principles of equity and inclusion; a task that would require prioritizing services without threat of arrest, displacement, or banishment to those who have the least access to resources.

We need your help to let the Coastal Commissioners know that criminalizing policy like OVO has no place in our community!

For our appeal to have the best chance at being successful, we will need the support of the community behind us. You can help us by signing and sharing, so we can get as many signatures as possible by July 1st!


Sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/repeal-the-oversized-vehicle-ordinance
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