BERKELEY, Calif. (KTVU) - Protestors attended Tuesday’s Berkeley City Council meeting, as city leaders considered giving final approval to ban overnight RV parking. If approved, the ban would go into effect immediately.
More than 100 protestors packed the meeting. At least 50 of them spoke during public comment. Many of them pleading with city leaders to forego the ban and held signs that read “Let RVs stay the night.”
City leaders back on February 28 voted 6-3 in favor of the ban. This is the final reading. The ban would prohibit RV parking on Berkeley streets between 2-5 a.m. The ban comes amid growing concerns of public safety and parking specifically in West Berkeley on Eighth and Harrison Streets.
The city said it received more than 1,500 complaints from businesses and residents about the loss of parking, illegal dumping of trash, debris and human waste on the streets.
Opponents said RV dwellers have a right to be in Berkeley.
Among them is Paul Kastner who had a six-figure tech job and then fell on hard times.
“People living in RVs aren't doing it by choice,” said Kastner. “They are doing it because there's no available affordable housing and banning RVs is just criminalizing being poor.”
“Berkeley is not a progressive city anymore the way things are going,” said Aidan Hill of the People Park’s Committee. “It’s really saying unless you live in a high-rise that you don't belong in the city and I think it's wrong.”
The city has proposed creating a permitting system that would give exemptions to some RVs for a limited time. This is an issue facing many Bay Area cities. RV dwellers and their supporters are asking the city to identify alternative locations and regional collaboration on the issue.
If approved, people living in the RVs say they vow to fight through legal means. Many of them are unsure where they will go. The topic will be discussed again at next city council meeting on April 2.