This is Santa Cruz Local’s newsletter issue for Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Our newsletter informs Santa Cruz County residents of big decisions in local government and how to get involved.

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In this issue:

  1. Overnight parking limits debated in Santa Cruz
  2. Rail trail environmental planning meeting for Santa Cruz, Live Oak
  3. Power outage meetings for Corralitos, San Lorenzo Valley
  4. Volunteers wanted for city and county boards, commissions
  5. Your thoughts: What keeps you up at night?


Overnight parking limits debated in Santa Cruz

John Daugherty stands by his RV on Delaware Avenue in Santa Cruz

John Daugherty, 61, came to Santa Cruz for a job three years ago. He said he usually parks his RV overnight in church parking lots that allow it. (Stephen Baxter — Santa Cruz Local)

A new law that could prevent overnight parking for many people who live in their RVs is expected to be heard by the Santa Cruz City Council on Oct. 26.

The council discussed the item Tuesday. It did not take formal action except to schedule the hearing and direct the mayor to create a council committee to explore expansion of safe parking programs. The vote was 6-0 with Mayor Donna Meyers absent.

The proposal comes in response to some Westside residents’ concerns about trash, waste and crime related to people who live in their vehicles. Potential new rules would not be enforced until city leaders designate more places for overnight parking for homeless people.

Potential new rules include:

  • A requirement for overnight parking permits for oversized vehicles. Residents’ permits would be valid for one year and allow the vehicle to be parked in a spot for 72 hours. Vehicles must be parked next to the resident’s home, or if that spot is not available then within 400 feet. Residents can buy visitor permits for out-of-town guests. Visitor permits would be similar but valid for 30 days. Oversize vehicles are defined as vehicles or trailers that are at least 20 feet long or 7 feet tall and 7 feet wide.
  • People are eligible for resident permits if their RV’s DMV registration has had a Santa Cruz address for at least six months. An RV owner must have a permanent Santa Cruz city address to get a resident or visitor RV permit.
  • Without a permit, RV parking generally would not be allowed on streets, alleys or city lots 12-5 a.m. The limits would not apply to emergency situations such as mechanical breakdowns. Fines would be set for violations.

Tuesday morning, more than 10 RVs were parked on Delaware Avenue and Natural Bridges Drive in Santa Cruz. A few other vans and other vehicles were stuffed with belongings and had windows covered. Signs say overnight parking is illegal from midnight to 6 a.m.

John Daugherty, 61, said he moved to Santa Cruz three years ago for an agriculture job that paid $25 an hour. “I’ve gotten tickets here. It wasn’t even overnight yet, and they gave me a ticket,” Daugherty said.

When asked about overnight RV parking outside people’s homes, Daugherty said he “wouldn’t want that to happen.” He said, “People sit in the front room or whatever, watch TV, you wouldn’t want to look at an RV in the front window. But a place like this street, where it’s all commercial, any commercial area would be fine” for overnight parking, he said.

Jana Monson, a retired waitress, parked her RV near Delaware Avenue and Liberty Street on Tuesday morning. When she was recently forced to evacuate her home near Lake Tahoe due to the Caldor Fire, her friends in Santa Cruz invited her to park her RV on their street. She plans to move to Three Rivers, a town near Sequoia National Park, but is waiting for another evacuation order to lift there.

Jana Monson stands by her RV in Santa Cruz

Jana Monson, a Lake Tahoe area fire evacuee, stayed in her RV with her dog, Lexi, near Delaware Avenue in Santa Cruz this week. (Kara Meyberg Guzman — Santa Cruz Local)

Read the full story

Correction: Our last newsletter misstated the year the Santa Cruz City Council adopted an overnight parking ban. It was 2015.

Water rate increase planned

Tuesday, the Santa Cruz City Council voted 7-0 to begin a process to raise rates for city water customers. The proposed increase is largely driven by $271 million of planned water infrastructure and supply projects by 2027.

The rate increase is tied to a tiered system. Residents with average water use, also called Tier 2, would see a roughly $4.50 increase to their monthly bill in 2022. Higher water bills would start in subsequent years.

A public hearing to set the water rates is expected Nov. 23. If a majority of customers protest the rate increase during a 45-day window before the hearing, the proposed rate increase would fail.


Rail trail environmental planning meeting for Santa Cruz, Live Oak

5-6:30 p.m. Oct. 6 / Online and by phone

Rail trail segments 8 and 9 are being planned along the rail corridor in Santa Cruz. (Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission)

As Santa Cruz city leaders prepare an environmental impact report for Rail Trail Segments 8 and 9, an Oct. 6 online meeting has been planned to discuss environmental challenges.

Rail Trail Segments 8 and 9 of the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line are a planned 2.21 miles of a bike and walk path from 17th Avenue to the Beach Street and Pacific Avenue roundabout. Bike trail and sidewalk improvements also are in the works.

The meeting is not about the merits of the rail trail project, but rather about the scope of the environmental impact report. Leaders want to “gather input on potential environmental issues and project alternatives to be evaluated in the environmental review process,” according to a city notice. As an alternative, the report would study “railbank with trail,” which could involve removal of the rail line east of the San Lorenzo River to 17th Avenue.

  • The meeting takes place 5-6:30 pm., Oct. 6 on Zoom with Webinar ID 875 5461 7851 or call +1 408 638 0968 or +1 669 900 6833
  • To comment or ask questions about the scope of the environmental impact report, email Santa Cruz Project Manager Nathan Nguyen at [email protected] with subject line “RAIL TRAIL 8/9.”
  • More information


Town hall events to address recent power outages

Recent power outages in the San Lorenzo Valley and Corralitos have prompted two online town hall meetings with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. representatives and Santa Cruz County supervisors. Supervisor Bruce McPherson, who represents the San Lorenzo Valley, and Supervisor Zach Friend requested the meetings so residents can get more information about rural electrical systems.

  • Online, 12-1 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 23 for Corralitos area residents.
  • Online, 5:30-7 p.m., Thursday Sept. 23 for San Lorenzo Valley residents


Board and commission vacancies

Several city and county boards and commissions need volunteers to weigh new rules and track progress on a variety of topics. The groups generally advise city councils and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

Several city and county boards and commissions need volunteers to weigh new rules and track progress on a variety of topics. The groups generally advise city councils and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.

Capitola: City leaders are looking for a business representative for its Finance Advisory Committee and three members for its Arts and Cultural Commission. The application deadline is Oct. 31.

Santa Cruz: City leaders have an opening on its Downtown Commission and its Board of Building and Fire Appeals.

Scotts Valley: City leaders have openings on its Parks and Recreation Commission, Parks and Recreation Advocates, (Building) Board of Appeals, Code Enforcement Appeals Board, Mobile Home Park Rent Review Committee and the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Committee. Find applications here.

Santa Cruz County: There are openings on the Fire Department Advisory Commission, Commission on Disabilities, Animal Nuisance Abatement Appeals Commission, Housing Advisory Commission, Latino Affairs Commission, Fish and Wildlife Advisory Commission, Seniors Commission, Substance Use Disorders Commission, Mental Health Advisory Commission, Assessment Appeals Board, Childhood Advisory Council, Emergency Management Council, Emergency Medical Care Commission, Hazardous Materials Advisory Commission, In-Home Supportive Services Commission, Integrated Community Health Centers Co-Applicant Commission, Integrated Waste Management Local Task Force, Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Prevention Commission, Pajaro Valley Publice Cemetery District, Treasury Oversight Commission and the Workforce Development Board.

Find applications and more information.

Watsonville: The city’s personnel commission has an opening for a District 4 representative. Details


Today’s question: What keeps you up at night? Share your thoughts.

We’ll share responses in a future newsletter.

A note from staff

When we write about what happens in local government, we think it’s important to hear from people most affected by those policies. That’s why for today’s Santa Cruz City Council story, we went beyond what happened in the Zoom meeting. We knocked on the doors of RV drivers on the Westside and asked for their input.

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