A little more than a year after the city of San Mateo outlawed oversized vehicles parking on residential streets, some neighbors are frustrated that people continue to park mobile homes along Mariners Island Boulevard.
The City Council approved changes to its municipal code in March 2013 after residents began to complain that motor homes, oversized trucks, stretch limousines, boats and trailers left on residential streets were a hazard and an eyesore.
John Coyle lives on Mariners Island Boulevard and said the new ordinance has done little to discourage people from parking near the condominiums in which he lives.
Coyle said people had been parking their motor homes along the street that separates Foster City and San Mateo for years, but since the new ordinance passed, the problem has exacerbated and people are living in them.
“They rotate on the street and on an average day there’s seven to 15 boats, trailers or motor homes. I just find that’s ridiculous of these people. If you want to buy this stuff, then have the money to pay to park it somewhere,” Coyle said. “When I get up at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. in the morning and wake up and see these motor homes across the street, it’s weird. They’re not your neighbors.”
City code defines an oversized vehicle as being 7.5 feet tall; 7.5 feet wide from the widest portion of the vehicle; being 22 feet long in combination with any attached trailers; and exceed 10,000 pounds. The ordinance restricts unattached trailers, regardless of size, from being left in the public right-of-way on streets that are zoned residential; and restricts boat trailers, with or without boats, from being left in the public right-of-way on streets that are zoned residential.
Mariners Island Boulevard has unique challenges as it runs a divide through San Mateo and Foster City. The street itself is subject to San Mateo’s parking ordinances, however the southeastern curb near Third Avenue before it loops around Bridgepointe marks the beginning of Foster City.
Oversized vehicles are allowed to park on the side of the road closest to Foster City because it’s primarily commercial properties, said San Mateo police Sgt. Tim Sullivan.
Although oversized vehicles are permitted, police have responded by enforcing other applicable rules, Sullivan said.
“Some people are seeing that that’s a possible place to park and they are taking advantage of that. So we’re following up with enforcement of, even though we can’t write a ticket for oversized vehicles on that south side stretch of Mariners (Island Boulevard), we can issue a violation for the 72-hour rule,” Sullivan said.
A citywide rule is that no vehicle is allowed to stay parked for more than 72 hours on any street. The ticket for an oversized vehicle is $45, but those who violate the 72-hour rule are subject to a $145 fine or even having their vehicle towed, Sullivan said.
Although Mariners Island Boulevard presents a unique challenge, throughout the city people have generally been following the rules, Sullivan said.
City Manager Larry Patterson said the law was created in response to frustrated residents and, although the majority of people have complied, Mariners Island Boulevard is still being evaluated.
“It’s a little bit of an odd area over there. But we are looking at that. Because the intent wasn’t just to move them to a different location, but the intent was to have the owners take some responsibility and park them appropriately,” Patterson said.
Oversized vehicles can still be parked on non-residential streets such as on portions of El Camino Real. But when purchasing a boat or motor home, a buyer needs to consider whether they have the land or resources to store it, said Ben Toy, president of the San Mateo United Homeowners Association.
In 2011, SMUHA was a driving force that pushed for the oversized vehicle ordinance with safety and aesthetics in mind, Toy said.
“SMUHA got involved because, generally we don’t take a position unless enough of the associations vote for it, and in this case it was unanimous. Almost all of the associations voted to stand behind and push for this [ordinance],” Toy said. “It’s about being courteous to your fellow citizens out there.”
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