By Dave Schwab
Oversize vehicles are once again stirring discussions among residents upset by the eyesore and inconvenience they create.
“It’s getting worse and I’m afraid the problem is caused by residents aware of neighbors’ complaints,” said Joe Parker, president of Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC). He has been drawing attention to “repeat offenders” by running photos of offending vehicles under the title “Hall of Shame” in the council’s monthly newsletter.
“People are routinely leaving them for more than a 72-hour period (what’s legal), sometimes more than a week at a time, in front of other people’s homes or refusing to park them in storage,” Parker added. “Littering the streets with these vehicles is totally inappropriate: It’s rude.”
Three years ago, the City Council considered two alternative proposals in an aborted pilot program that would have enacted stricter rules governing trailers, recreational vehicles and commercial vehicles on public streets, alleys or in parks. The proposal would have limited the parking of such vehicles between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. as well as those within 50 feet of any intersection at any time. Violators would rack up a $100 fine.
But that program, which would have applied west of Interstate 5, was discontinued back in 2008 “because the mayor came out with news that there was going to be a sizable budget deficit, which has continued,” said Matt Awbrey, communications director for Second District Councilman Kevin Faulconer who backed the proposed changes.
Faulconer recently has heard constituents’ renewed calls for a solution and has been meeting with residents, police and members of the Good Sam Club, an RV group opposed to new restrictions. He also has been reviewing the earlier proposal to see if it needs amending, Awbrey said.
“I want a fair and balanced approach to address the safety concerns created by illegally parked oversized vehicles,” said Faulconer in an e-mail. “This is a quality-of life-issue in our beach communities and I’m committed to working with all stakeholders to find solutions.”
A push is also coming again from Pacific Beach Town Councilman Scott Chipman, who has been lobbying coastal community planning groups — including BRCC — to enlist them in a renewed effort to rid neighborhoods of the problem of “squatting” vehicles. He agrees ignoring it won’t make the issue disappear.
“It’s visual pollution,” Chipman said, adding the problem is more than aesthetic. “It impacts your visibility as you’re going down the street and up to intersections with cars pulling out from behind RVs or commercial vehicles that have been parked and you can’t see them. It affects normal parking. There’s not much good that comes of the permanent parking of these vehicles in our neighborhoods.”
RVs and similar vehicles obstructing views and displacing parking are less obvious — and problematic — elsewhere in La Jolla than they are in Bird Rock. But they do exist.
“Something needs to be done about it,” said Rick Wildman, La Jolla Town Council president who added, although they’re not showing up in the Village business district, RVs and trailers on residential side streets such as Park Row are “a problem.”