Homeless San Diegans living in RVs plan lawsuit against city over parking ordinance

Posted at 8:12 AM, Nov 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-16 20:44:01-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A group of homeless residents say they have filed a class-action lawsuit against the city of San Diego Thursday over the city's Oversized Vehicle Ordinance.

Under the ordinance, RVs cannot be parked on city streets between 2 a.m.-6 a.m. unless the owner has a permit. Also, RVs cannot be parked within 50 feet of an intersection.

The order was designed to protect San Diego homeowners against RVs becoming potential eyesores in their neighborhoods.

San Diegan Marla Lovell told 10News, "It could be a couple of weeks [that] they're there. They don't get towed. People, I think, live in them. I don't think they are moving them when they are supposed to."

However, those who take shelter in their RVs say they are fed up with what they say is constant police harassment, the citations they can't afford to pay and the impounding of their vehicles.

On Thursday morning, a group of residents -- backed by several homeless advocacy organizations -- held a news conference and rally at Balboa Park to speak on their lawsuit against the city.

Valerie Grischy is one of the plaintiffs. She said she became homeless in 2012 after an injury from a car accident ruined her career as a massage therapist.

"I was in more pain than the person on the table," she said.

She was able to purchase an RV but says city laws make it "impossible" to live inside it.

Kelly Manley was also at the rally. He says he used to live in an RV in Campo, but moved down to San Diego to care for his sick brother.

Since then, he's received multiple fines totaling nearly $600, which he says he is unable to pay on his income.

"I don't think it's right," he said of the city ordinances. "I think you should be able to park anywhere if you're paying registration."

Following the 11 a.m. news conference, the group gathered their RVs and other vehicles through downtown.

In a statement, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott wrote, “We have not been served and have not seen the complaint.  We will review the complaint and advise our client accordingly.  We look forward to continuing to assist the City in tackling issues related to persons experiencing homelessness.”