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Rent control, RV dilemmas in store for Mountain View in 2020

Mountain View RVs” width=
Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Recreational vehicles occupy a section of the San Antonio Center in Mountain View. Advocates for RV dwellers and others living in their vehicles have gathered enough signatures to force suspension of the oversized vehicle parking ban the Mountain View City Council enacted in October.

For Mountain View, the year 2020 may hold some major decisions impacting its future, with voters playing the key role.

The issues of rent control, homelessness and RV dwelling – all symptoms of the ongoing housing crisis – likely will be on the ballot in March or November.

The Mountain View City Council-initiated Measure D on the March 3 ballot amends the current rent control law by raising the annual rent increase threshold from the current 2.5%-3% (reflecting the Consumer Price Index) to 4%. Council members indicated they wanted to give apartment owners flexibility to cover costs for needed housing improvements.

The Mountain View Renter, Homeowner and Taxpayer Protection Act, planned for the Nov. 3 general election ballot, proposed by the California Apartment Association, aims to fix “many of the unfair, costly and unworkable” provisions of the city’s rent control ordinance passed in 2016, according to association representatives. Opponents see the move as an attempt to nullify the existing law.

Meanwhile, advocates for RV dwellers and others living in their vehicles have gathered enough signatures to force suspension of the oversized vehicle (read: RV) parking ban the council enacted in October.

In response to what council members noted were primarily safety issues, the city banned parking on streets with bike lanes and on streets 40 feet wide or narrower. But opponents saw the move as an effort to force those lacking stable housing out of town.

Petitioners gathered an estimated 4,179 valid signatures, according to the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters. They needed 3,761 to qualify.

The city council is scheduled Tuesday to discuss options after certification of the signatures. According to City Clerk Lisa Natusch, the council must either repeal the ordinance or submit it to voters in the next general election, Nov. 3. Implementation of the current ordinance is suspended until the referendum goes before voters.

New mayor

Councilwoman Margaret Abe-Koga is next in line to be named the city’s mayor for 2020. The council was scheduled to make the appointment, along with naming the new vice mayor, at Tuesday’s council meeting, which occurred after the Town Crier’s press deadline.

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