On Tuesday, the Fullerton City Council voted unanimously to introduce an ordinance to amend the Fullerton Municipal Code Chapter 8.46, which is in relation to RV parking, stopping and standing.
The ordinance, which was passed unanimously on November 17, 2020, bans RV parking on private and public streets citywide without a temporary parking permit issued by the police department.
The temporary permits are available to residents, and the RVs are only permitted in residential zones.
According to the ordinance, a resident of Fullerton is someone who resides or maintains a place of residence or owns land in the city. Anyone who rents a room or maintains a post office box does not qualify, unless evidence of habitation at a location with an address is provided.
Some RV owners affected by the adopted ordinance parked their vehicles along Valencia Avenue in Fullerton, near industrial businesses.
When the council passed the RV parking ban, a Safe Parking Program was made available, allowing a limited number of people living in RVs to park on a city lot near Union Pacific Park overnight.
The program was set to expire on December 31, 2020, leaving those who used the program to find another acceptable location to park on.
In December 2020, the city placed notice flyers on all RVs parked along Valencia Ave announcing that RV parking would be prohibited on all city streets. The notice recommended that all vehicles move before enforcement, including towing, began.
During a council meeting in March, members voted, 3-2, to temporarily delay parking enforcement until April 5.
Now that the ordinance has been introduced, council members will review the item and vote during the next city council meeting on July 20.
During public comment, one speaker said that RV owners who do not have a safe place to park should not be harassed, subjected to ticketing or confiscation until a designated area to park is provided.
Curtis Gamble, an activist on behalf of unhoused individuals and residents, spoke about the safe parking program that is no longer accessible to RV owners.
"It was supposed to be for the homeless, and I don't see any reason why we still don't have that on behalf of the homeless," Gamble said. "We built a 150-bed shelter. I don't understand why we can't continue that program."
Another speaker, a Fullerton resident for 26 years, said the city should stop criminalizing the homeless and towing away their homes, and should find a better way to support them.
"We kind of need to do better, Orange County in general, but Fullerton kind of needs to pave the way on doing better when it comes to homelessness," the speaker said.
She also mentioned that her father lived in his car for nearly five to 10 years until he could save enough money to purchase a home in Fullerton. She said he was in a situation where he was not criminalized for living in his car.
"It's hard enough that these people are homeless and are struggling, especially in this day and age when you can't even find a one-bedroom apartment here for under $1,800 in Fullerton," she said. "So, I think we just need to do better and stop criminalizing the parking situation, and we need to rehabilitate these people back into our society."
According to the United to End Homelessness website, Point-in-Time-Count is a biennial count of people experiencing homelessness in Orange County.
The most recent count of people without a home in Orange County in 2019 is 6,860, with 311 veterans, 275 transitional-aged youth, 612 seniors and 466 families. The organization is currently waiting for the results of the 2021 count.