By Mark Stechbart, Gail Benjamin and Linda Prisajni
Tonight the Pacifica Council will make a far-reaching decision on the homeless that will significantly affect your property value and neighborhoods.
Council may green-light 10 locations for legal on-street homeless RV parking. Council may green-light 10 locations on church or private lots for homeless camps and RV parks.
Virtually every neighborhood in Pacifica will be within a short walking distance of these homeless camps.
Do we have your attention?
For over one year, council has been mulling over what to do with the exploding homeless RV population on most major streets and ocean front parking lots. During that year, a secret homeless committee has been meeting behind closed doors to come up with a plan. That
“plan” may be revealed tonight. But realistically, we expect the “plan” to be a bust; no conclusions, many vague promises and a wasted year as RVs pile up.
We expect no church lot or building sign-ups because the congregations are not buying RVs or camp-outs on their doorstep. No private lots have signed up either. Will Council allow on-street RV parking when hundreds of homeowners in every neighborhood have spoken out on Nextdoor against the idea? We hope not.
Council actually adopted an ordinance banning large vehicles on most city streets. The large vehicle ban, based on health and safety issues—lines of sight, impacting sidewalks, trash, excessive height, etc—was suspended during the covid shut-down. No large vehicle ban signs were made. (Forgetting the dozens of no park signs made overnight that pushed beach parking into adjacent neighborhoods, so signs could have been made!)
Inexplicably, several neighborhood streets were left out of the large vehicle ban because the streets were wide. Terra Nova Blvd, Oddstad, North Palmetto and other streets are exposed to legal permanent RV parking. This apparently is a new amenity for kids and families patronizing the Sanchez library, two schools and the preschool on Terra Nova.
The solution is clear to us—proceed immediately with large vehicle street ban signs. Council has already voted once to ban large vehicles. Don’t water the ban down with “legal” RV parking in 10 locations. How does backtracking make any sense? Sure does not benefit our neighborhoods.
Add a six foot ban on uncovered streets like Terra Nova and North Palmetto (location of a homeless camp fire and a long term sewage leaking van) . The County did this at the HMB airport with complete and legal success.
Finally deny churches and private lots any chance to import RVs back into our neighborhoods under the thin guise of “services”. Homeless services can be provided in proper, secure locations run by the county and state who have the funds, management ability and the land to provide 24-7 care. Pacifica has zero funds and no land that is not close to homes, schools, ball fields, libraries and child care. Homeless “services” and housing will take months if not years, so any homeless import into the neighborhoods will not be temporary and will be long term. If “services” were easy and quick, we would have seen RVs decrease over the year delay. The RV numbers exploded.
You can comment to City Council about supporting the RV and large vehicle ban and denying church camp-outs by emailing to this address and your comments will be read at tonight’s council meeting: firstname.lastname@example.org Send your email before 4 p.m.
Go to Pacifica Council agendas, hit council 2020 agendas on left hand bar, July 15 agenda. Read the staff report for full details not available as we write this. The meeting will run on Zoom, instructions on the first page of the July 15 agenda. Public comment will probably be limited to 1 or 2 minutes per person, so email is best route.
Pay attention and tell Council your thoughts. We are close to solving the RV explosion and getting our streets back. Make your voice heard.
(Long term Pacifica residents Gail Benjamin, Linda Prisajni and Mark Stechbart are involved in neighborhood issues.)