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San Jose weighs ban on RVs near schools; on some city streets

Bryce Nesbitt
Flickr / Creative Commons

The San Jose City Council is set to approve three new policies today, which would limit where large vehicles can park; where people living in their RVs can sleep overnight; and how far encampments can be from schools. KALW's Alastair Boone has more.

BODY: San Jose leaders are expected to pass three new policies today, aimed at cracking down on RV homelessness in the city, particularly near schools. The changes come after complaints from students and parents at schools in the area.

The first policy would allow the city to tow large vehicles in areas where parked cars could create safety hazards. The city plans to erect no parking signs in areas where they determine RVs could block people from making a safe turn, or pedestrians from crossing the street safely. RVs located in no parking zones may be towed.

The second policy would prompt the Department of Transportation to create certain no overnight parking zones for people living in vehicles.

The final policy would create “setback zones,” which would prohibit encampments within 150 feet of a school. Those who violate the distance requirement will receive a citation.

However, city leaders say there is no monetary fine associated with the ticket. San Jose already created a “buffer zone” for encampments near schools back in 2021, but that policy has not been regularly enforced.

There are an estimated 850 vehicle homes in San Jose, which house about 1,500 unsheltered people. The city currently has two safe parking sites, but they do not contain enough parking spaces to accommodate everybody who will be impacted by the new policies. The City of San Jose has an estimated 6,340 homeless residents in total.

Mayor Matt Mahan has been talking about enacting no encampment zones, but previously stated that he would not implement such bans until the city had more alternative housing solutions. However, he says he cannot wait when it comes to San Jose schools.

If the new policies are passed on Tuesday, it will be months before enforcement begins.

Alastair Boone is the Director of Street Spirit newspaper, and a member of KALW's 2024 Audio Academy.