I was surprised “Nothing EZ About Living in an RV” did not reflect the perspective of homeowners and residents affected by the oversized vehicles parked in our neighborhoods. It is important to represent both sides of an issue. Here is my family’s perspective.
We have lived downtown for almost 15 years. In years past, we have had an occasional RV parked on our street, but then something changed. First we noticed that a huge mobile home started parking on our street every weekend, then another that rotated between our block and the next every three days. Before we knew it we had five RVs parked on our street! When we finally did call the city, we were told Santa Barbara city allows RVs to park in the same place for up to three days, even though the County of Santa Barbara does not.
Neighbor after neighbor started complaining that our residential streets were full of oversized vehicles. The issue has only gotten worse. Not only do we have countless RVs that live full-time on our streets, but we have a constant flow of tourists in Cruise America and luxury campers that park right in front of our homes and camp. The word is out — everyone knows that they can park pretty much anywhere in Santa Barbara and camp for days with no penalty. Using our residential parking as a makeshift mobile-home park is not acceptable.
I emailed Councilmember Cathy Murillo for help, and while she tried to comfort my concerns, she seems content to chase RVs from street to street. She wants (in her own words) to “tell them to keep moving, tell them about resources such as the Safe Parking program, and if we discover illegal activity, make sure the police are contacted.” She knows there is a problem here but is offering no real solution for residents. The truth is there are resources, Santa Barbara has a lot of resources for those that need help or are visiting the area, but until these RV owners are forced to rent a space or find a permanent home there is no reason to move.