Navarro v. Mountain View
On July 14, 2021, DRA, The Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, and the ACLU Foundation of Northern California joined with pro bono partners Hewlett Packard Enterprise and King & Spalding to file a lawsuit today against the City of Mountain View on behalf of Mountain View residents who live in RVs and oversized vehicles.
The class action lawsuit aims to strike down a law that effectively bans RV parking within city limits. Read the complaint.
The suit was filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of California by six plaintiffs on behalf of all persons who live in RVs and other oversized vehicles in the city. The lawsuit argues that the citywide RV parking ban is unconstitutional, inhumane, and disproportionately impacts people with disabilities, in violation of federal and state law.
All the plaintiffs have strong ties to Mountain View—whether they receive health care for chronic conditions, work in the city, or have children in the school district. Through health care, resources, family, and friends, RV residents often have a strong support network that otherwise would not exist if they left the area. They have all lived in the city for years, some up to decades.
The ban was established by an ordinance, Measure C, that prohibits “oversized vehicle” parking. Originally adopted by the City Council in October 2019, the ordinance was temporarily suspended after a successful referendum petition forced the ordinance to the ballot. Once it passed in November 2020, Mountain View moved swiftly to begin enforcing the ban by summer 2021. Once signage is posted on the affected streets, the law allows Mountain View Police to tow any vehicle parked in violation of the restrictions. According to the last count by the city of Mountain View in July 2020, there are 191 RVs on city streets and 54 RVs in safe parking lots.
The RV ban prohibits oversized vehicles that exceed 22 feet in length or 7 feet in width or 7 feet in height from parking on streets that are 40 feet or narrower, unless for activities like loading and unloading. In conjunction with an earlier ordinance, which banned parking on certain streets with bike lanes, almost 90% of the streets in Mountain View are unavailable to RV residents, essentially banishing RV residents from their community. Violating the RV ban could result in residents accruing fines and immediately losing their homes to towing.
The ban unfairly impacts people with disabilities, Spanish-speaking families, and people of color, all of whom already experience homelessness at disproportionate rates. The ban has already and will continue to destabilize their ability to maintain their health and employment.
The Mountain View RV ban punishes residents for not having traditional homes or the financial ability to afford permanent housing in the City. The RV ban subjects Mountain View’s lowest income residents to the constant threat of excessive fees, seizure of their home and banishment from their community. If enforced, the RV ban could subject residents to increasingly unsafe living conditions, either on the streets, in temporary shelters or in overcrowded housing.
Immediate solutions include not ticketing or towing any RVs that are used for shelter. Additionally, the City of Mountain View should develop sufficient permanent housing opportunities for every individual currently living in an RV in Mountain View that are accessible based on those individuals’ disability-related needs.