Pacific Beach leaders applaud mayor’s stance on vehicle habitation
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 03/31/19 - 08:05 AM | 2630 views | 2 2 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pacific Beach Town Council president Brian White speaks at the March 25 press conference. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Pacific Beach Town Council president Brian White speaks at the March 25 press conference. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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With complaints ballooning from residents about problems with people living legally in their vehicles on public streets, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell have proposed reversing course.

The pair at a March 25 press conference in Mission Bay unveiled plans for a new ordinance once again making vehicle habitation illegal. They also advocated expanding the City’s Safe Parking Program, which allows unused parking space to be used overnight by San Diegans inhabiting their vehicles.

San Diego City Council recently repealed a 1983 ordinance prohibiting residents from living in a vehicle on streets within city limits. That decision followed U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia’s ruling in August 2018 that the ordinance “was both vague on its face and being arbitrarily and discriminatorily applied.” 

“If you are living out of your vehicle because you have nowhere else to go, we want to help you,” said Faulconer.” At the same time, residents and businesses have a right to clean and safe neighborhoods. We will not allow conduct that takes advantage of San Diego’s generosity and destroys the quality of life in our communities.”

“I applaud the mayor’s action, which balances the need to provide more assistance and services to San Diegans living in their vehicles in need of a helping hand, with the concerns about health and safety we’ve heard from our beach communities,” Campbell said. “The South Shores parking lot on South Shores Park Drive is an appropriate location for safe parking expansion with more than 200 spaces and bathroom facilities onsite. South Shores could be rapidly transitioned into a safe overnight parking location with space for cars and oversized vehicles.”

Beach and Bay residents’ comments on vehicle habitation:

“Vehicle habitations is a city-wide issue, and as San Diego's biggest tourism draw, our beach areas need protection because I don't think RV campgrounds make for good postcards and travel brochures,” said Pacific Beach Town Council president Brian White. “Beach and bay area parking needs to be accessible for all San Diegans coming from all over the city to enjoy, rather than being monopolized by van-lifers parked for weeks at a time.”

White added he’s “very encouraged by the new ordinance on the way coupled with the safe-lot parking alternatives because it's the right formula going forward. Without bathrooms available to many vehicle dwellers, it has created a very unsanitary situation on our residential streets, sidewalks and private yards. so we're glad to know more safe lots will be opening up to give people what they need.”

“If you are just a traveler using streets and parking areas for locating your vehicula for habitation, you need to go elsewhere, you are not welcome in San Diego and there needs to be legal enforcement to move these people along or into camping locations such as Campland,” said PB resident Scott Chipman. “If you are using a vehicle for emergency and transitional housing until you can get on your feet and in housing with a physical address, the city can help you survive and assist in your transition. If we just make comfortable locations for vehicle habitations, we will be attracting thousands more (we already are) and we will help almost no one.”

“Personally I'm strongly against [vehicle habitation],” said Henish Pulickal, Pacific Beach Planning Group chair. “The only reason you would sleep in your car by the beach is because you like to live by the beach for free.This freeloader problem causes massive negative externalities for the residents and visitors that pay rent, mortgage, taxes, hotel accommodations, etc to be by the beach.”

Added Pulickal, “Everyone has the right to earn the ability to live where ever they want.  But you can't live in your car for free near real estate that sells for $1,000/foot, and expect that to be OK and accepted by the community.”

PBPG recently voted to support making vehicle habitation unlawful.   

Faulconer intends to introduce his new anti-vehicle habitation ordinance at the April 17 meeting of the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee meeting.

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Buffalo Barnes
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March 31, 2019
How about putting some of these freeloaders to work picking up the trash all over San Diego? No Work? Move along.
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