San Jose homeless RV parking site causes NIMBY backlash – CBS San Francisco
SAN JOSE (KPIX) – Neighbors at San Jose’s first city-approved homeless recreational vehicle parking site are pushing back plans to open the facility, saying the decision was made behind closed doors, without public meeting or community contribution.
“Why was this kept secret? People put up a fence for a week and didn’t tell us what it was for, ”asked a neighbor during a moving town hall meeting on Friday afternoon at Vista Montaña neighborhood park, adjacent to the proposed site. San Jose City Council Member David Cohen chaired the meeting, attended by staff from various city departments.
RV parking will be located at 71 Vista Montaña, a vacant 4.2-acre city-owned parcel. The property, which housed the former 62,000 square foot Supertex office building, can accommodate up to 20 RVs. The Vista Montaña parking lot will only accommodate 8-9 residents with motorhomes that have been moved from the Apple homeless camp that was emptied this week. RV owners who are homeless often reject offers to move into interim housing due to the lack of parking and storage options for RVs.
“We may not be the perfect group. We may not be the cleanest group, but we are still human, ”said Robert Carlson, who had saved up for four years to buy his trailer.
The car park will have 24-hour security, garbage cans, toilets and a strict code of conduct. Residents of motorhomes are not allowed to receive guests. Residents in violation of the rules will be removed from the site. The city will conduct periodic reviews and shut down the site if it is found unsuccessful, Cohen said.
“While it’s uncomfortable for this particular neighborhood, I’m a little excited to see how it works as it could be a model for being able to create a safe place across town,” Cohen said.
According to Cohen, Apple had sought the city’s help for years to relocate the residents of the settlement. The September 2 deadline set by the company to clear the encampment has prompted the city to act quickly, with various departments signing on to the Vista Montaña site over the past week. After receiving final approval, Cohen informed the neighbors with a post Wednesday on NextDoor.
“It forced us to get the city to test how it could work in a way that maybe wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t shut down this other (Apple) site,” Cohen said.
“Yes it was rushed, yes it was fast. We hope we can get this pilot to work, ”Cohen said. “We’re moving quickly to make sure we don’t end up with a bigger problem with dispersing people. This has been my goal.
The neighbors have formed a change.org petition against the site which has collected more than 300 signatures.
Ofelia Hernandez had recently moved into apartments nearby in order to escape the growing encampments east of San José. Hernandez learned of the secure parking lot from a notice on her front door on Friday morning and was “disappointed” and “upset”.
“They don’t know what’s going on in these RVs. Do they continue to use drugs in these recreational vehicles? Are they drug tested? They can easily pick up the phone and give the address to their friends, which means their friends could start putting up tents in our parks and in our neighborhood, ”Hernandez said.
Apple will fund the relocation of the vehicles but the city will cover the operational costs, according to Cohen. The secure parking site is scheduled to open on September 7 and the pilot project will run for nine months.