Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Herding Up Pomona's Lil' White Elephants

Today's photo is of a motorhome which is parked on upper Towne Avenue every time I drive by. And I typically drive by several times a day. If you zoom in on the photograph, you'll see that "Our Lil' White Elephant" is handwritten on the tire holder and the personalized license plate reads "Eellee." I have singled out this particular "Sunrader" because it is always careful to park on the Pomona side of the sign, not the Claremont side of the sign. The fact is that there are motorhomes stored all over the streets of Pomona, yet in Claremont they are noticeable absent. I've already told the story of the people who live in surrounding cities, yet store their motor homes on the streets of Pomona. The reason being that legitimate storage is expensive and Pomona appears to give motorhomes a free pass.

Today, I finally sat down to compare the two cities rules on motorhome parking. According to the City of Claremont's website:

"Recreational vehicles such as boats, campers, trailers, and motorhomes must be parked in a garage or interior side or rear yard behind a minimum five-foot high solid fence or wall. Temporary RV parking permits which are good for a maximum of 14 days per calendar year, may be obtained by calling the Community Improvement office at 909/399-5467 or by stopping by the Community Development counter at City Hall. Permits are required for at home RV maintenance and trip preparation/return."

I tried to get similar information off of the City of Pomona's website, but I finally had to resort to getting on the horn. A call to the Pomona City Manager's office, led to a referral to Code Compliance, which led to a referral to the police department's dispatch center. Dispatcher Robin told me that according to Parking Officer Mundy, the rule for motorhome parking in Pomona is simply that motorhomes must be moved every 72 hours and, unlike Claremont, there is no limit to the amount of days per year that they can be left out on Pomona streets.

Given the crime challenges, traffic problems and beautification issues that rampant motor home parking has created, why doesn't Pomona stop getting taken advantage of, and simply limit the amount of days in a year that a particular motor home can park on the streets?

Curious what others think about this issue. It sounds like one of those easy fixes, which could bring visible change. It would likely even bring added revenue to the City at the expense of motorhome owners who continue to use our streets to store their "lil' white elephants."



Anonymous said...

Be careful when you assume...

That little white elephant belongs to a Pomona resident. FYI, the west side of Towne in that area is part of Pomona. Don't worry, the Claremont PD has trouble knowing where their city ends and begins too. Also, in Claremont, they do not allow overnight parking. You can't even leave your moped on the street overnight.

me said...

If you reread the post, you'll se I assumed nothing about the particular ownership of this LWE. What was interesting is that it shows the motorhome storage starts as soon as you enter Pomona's borders. Plus, the LWE thing shows it's a motorhome who has a sense of humor!

yes, there are brown "overnight parking restrictions" signs on Towne, even on the Pomona side, which is obviously the Claremont influence. No overnight parking on streets is a bit extreme and not my beef. btw I'm told the overnight parking thing goes back nearly a hundred years and is rooted in Claremont's prejudice against migratory workers in the citrus industry. I'm proud we don't have that rule in Pomona.

But what's your opinion on motorhome warehousing on POmona streets? Am I being a NIMBY? or just a NIMP (NOt in My POmona)?

G of P

Anonymous said...

Who cares who owns these things.
I belive the point is that we have to look at them. Any one that owns one of these should be able to store them away so we don't have to look at these eyesores.
Boats too!
We have a neighbor that has friends or relatives that come for a couple weeks at a time & camp in front of the house, electric cord ran from the house & everything.
Such a delight to live next to.

Ed said...

The parking enforcement officer appears to be applying the general rule on 72 hour parking (Sec. 58-173) to RV's, although Sec. 34-3 may be more appropriate. The latter section is similar to Claremont's code on RV parking/storage, but it isn't found in Pomona's vehicle section which may be the point of confusion.

One could argue that Sec. 34-3 only applies to long-term vehicle storage, but given the safety and aesthetic conditions identified and the use of the term "parked" I would think a homeowner parking his RV on the street is the intended target.

I would like to see two things: (1) a better crafted ordinance removing the ambiguity and (2) a city-provided remote RV parking lot, charged on a sliding scale, to accommodate residents who lack an appropriate parking area.

A caveat to the 72 hour parking rule is that the municipal code clearly prohibits "living" in a parked vehicle and non-motorized vehicles or campers when detached from vehicle are prohibited on public streets, except for loading/unloading (Sec. 58-176).

You can find the municipal codes via the City Clerk link.

Ed said...

Sorry me again. The overnight parking of all vehicles is a bit sticky, but a good argument for some restrictions may be to curb grand theft autos. Pomona's GTA rate is really high and may be influencing your auto insurance rates. Even simpler, a more universal application of the street sweeping parking restrictions (let's say every week, every street) could move some of these cars into driveways and have the added benefit of making the city more clean. I hate trying to figure out which Thursday of the month it is.

Just a thought.

me said...

Sounds like a job for the new City Manager!

I think Ed's plan is an ideal, but I'll play devil's advocate. First, there's finding City land in a remote part of Pomona, or the city renting it from a landowner. Then there's gating/redeveloping the property so as to control people not going in or staying in at night to live. But then again people sleep in the daytime, so how do you make it so people can't spend time inside their motorhomes when motorhomes necessarily need upkeep? Then there's staffing the place with someone who would have to make sure people weren't "living" in them. All that in a City that is already 3 million in debt sounds like this is yet another thing that wouldn't make it off the ground.

I'd say we shoot for being compassionate, but at the least clarify the ordinance to get the motorhomes off the streets no matter what.

G of P

Anonymous said...

I personally feel Pomona should adopt the no overnight parking code that Claremont currently holds. Or maybe an overnight with permit with proof of residency for those residence that do not have a driveway. This will definitely help with knowing who is in your neighborhood in the late evenings. Many people feel Lincoln Park is a safe zone, so we tend to get a large number of overnighters (people sleeping in their cars or RVs). This will also reduce the number of vehicles that park in our streets for a quick fix or those who turn tricks.

me said...

"No overnight parking" wouldn't completely solve the RV issue tho. Take the Lil' White Elephant in question, which is in Pomona but parked in a Claremont-influenced "overnight parking restrictions" zone: Assuming that the LWE is moved every night - just for the sake of argument - it's still being moved back in the morning and being stored on the street day after day.

G of P

me said...

btw -- I've heard that motorhomes in Pomona do require a permit. So I'm sure that all the motorhomes being warehoused on our streets do use a Pomona address, be it theirs or a friend or family members.

Like Mark said, it really doesn't matter whose they are.

G of P

Anonymous said...

...sorry to be so sensitive about my friend's LWE. After receiving tickets for parking on a Pomona street overnight by the Claremont police, they went out with tape measurers to show the Claremont PD where the city boundaries were! Hey, the cops had their quotas...what's wrong with enforcing Claremont rules on Pomona streets? They get revenue where they can find it...just not from my friend with the tape measurer!

As far as signs, when you see the overnight parking signs, it is Claremont. Not all of Claremont is on the East and not all of Pomona is on the West of Towne. Hence the confused policemen. I guess only the residents on Towne, north of Foothill, know which city collects their taxes.

Sure, lets ban all parking on Pomona city streets at night. We can hire shuttles to get the folks living in apartments with no parking to and from home. And green communes can be forced to limit the number of gas guzzling cars that are allowed per house, and the houses with 20 relatives to a house can learn to ride bikes...

Oh, and while we're at it, let's ban all drive through fast food in Pomona, as it is in Claremont...

Oh, and while we're at it, all the white folk can pack up and run to Claremont, as they did in the 70s. Yes, I was here when the White Flight was taking place...

K said...

Claremont's strict approach to on-street parking was one of the many reasons I was delighted to move from Claremont to Pomona. You can't park any car overnight in Claremont without special approval from the police department -- and they'll only give you something like three days of overnight parking a month.

This is annoying in a number of situations -- if your friend has one too many glasses of wine and decides to sleep it off on your couch, they'll get a $25 parking fine to repay their concern for safety. Or maybe you don't like to have to get police approval to have out-of-town guests.

I'd hate to have these kinds of fussy rules imposed on us here in Pomona. I don't own a motorhome or a boat, and I don't want to. But, similarly, I'd hate to have a bunch of fussy rules imposed on us for that. As far as neighborhood problems go, I'm a little bit more concerned about the graffiti in the back alley than the occasional motorhome on the street.

me said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
me said...


I'm with you on the "no overnight parking." Too prohibitive and problematic.

I'd argue, tho that you may be too Lincoln-Park-centric in not seeing the motor homes as a big issue in the city. They are definitely a bigger problem around town than they are in our 'hood. What do you think about at least limiting the number of days to a more moderate 30 in a calender year?

Anon- Thanks for weighing in on your friend's situation. MY post wasn't meant to pick on your friend's LWE in particular, tho I can see where you would be a bit protective. I hope there is no offense taken. Seems we agree on the "no overnight parking" issue.

G of P

Pride in Garfield Park said...

Chief Romero once stopped by our Neighborhood Watch meeting to talk with Garfield Park residents about our concerns. The topic of RVs on the street came up. My recollection is that he encouraged us to call dispatch if we noticed an RV had lingered for a few days or suspected the RV was not registered to the person living at the address at which the RV was parked. Evidently, RVs can't be parked in front of just anyone's house -- they need to be parked in front of your own house. I'd rather they not be parked on the streets at all, but at least there's some immediate recourse if a parked RV greets you curbside tomorrow.

Feel free to correct my memory if I've gotten any of these details wrong.

Ed said...

Pride in the Garfield Park,

Your summary of Chief Romero's comments are consistent with my reading of the municipal code. I could be wrong if anybody wants to take a stab at it. BTW did you know that it's a code violation to wash your car on the street?

The rationale that you shouldn't own an RV unless you can afford to store it off-site seems a bit draconian for Pomona. Surely, our city leaders could come up with a reasonable compromise. What about a remote corner of the Fairplex? It would fit right in with their RV shows!!

Anonymous said...

Drive-through fast food is banned in Claremont? I heard that once.

If that's true then what's with the McDonalds on Indian Hill Blvd in between Auto Center Drive and the 10?