MARINA, Calif. - UPDATE 12/1/2017 9 p.m.:
A safe parking program that was supposed to start in Marina on December 1 has been delayed for now.
The county-owned parking lot of 2616 First Avenue was supposed to the site for a safe parking pilot program which would have allowed up to 15 cars and recreational vehicles a place to camp overnight. But it’s been delayed to give Monterey County and the surrounding community more time to work out some issues and maybe find another location.
One of those entities is Marina Community Partners. Project Director Doug Yount said while the organization supports a safe parking program and agrees it is needed, it believes it is in a bad location and has voiced concerns over security and legal land use.
"There's no lighting, it's dangerous, it's in the middle of abandoned barracks,” Yount said. “It's sloping, it's not a good location to put recreational vehicles. It's only at night, it's not a 24-hour situation."
The city of Marina has also voiced concerns. People who live in recreational vehicles and trailers said they didn’t like it either.
"They've offered us a solution that is not even appropriate, that none of the RV's can use,” said Tyrrell Morris, co-sponsor of the Lapis Road Homeowners Association. “Because the site is tilted, it's very narrow, it's very small. Maneuvering a 40' RV, a 40' truck and trailer into that space is next to impossible. The site is more appropriate for someone who has a tent or a single car."
However the county feels the location is viable. It will be discussed during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.
"I hope if the board does decide to delay implementation longer to allow the surrounding community to find an alternative location, that they do step forward and find an alternative location or understand the difficulty we faced in finding that location," said Elliott Robinson, director for the Department of Social Services.
Marina Community Partners said it would help to find an alternate site.
Morris believes a property near the intersection of Reservation Road and Imjin Parkway could easily fit dozens of cars and RV’s, however it is unclear who actually owns that property.
Yount said if the county pressed First Avenue location without good cause, his organization would look at all of its legal options, which could include a lawsuit.
“We're prepared to take actions if necessary to protect our rights to this property," Yount said.
In the meantime, people caught in the middle can still stay along Lapis Road just outside of Marina. An ordinance banning overnight camping will not go into effect until a safe parking program is established. But as a permanent location, Lapis is not viable because it is next to agriculture fields and cannot be secured for safety.
Some people were visibly frustrated.
"Why was it delayed? Give me that answer,” said one resident named Wildfire. “And give me an answer, what are we gonna do? Are you gonna continue kicking us out of Lapis every morning for what? They haven't done nothing out there. Except for making it worse for the dumping cause we're not there to clean it up."
The implementation of a parking program designed to give homeless people a place to sleep in their RV's and cars has been delayed.
Monterey County officials originally planned to open the Safe Parking Program Friday, December 1 at 2616 First Avenue in Marina. Officials said the delay will allow more time to continue discussions with the surrounding community.
There's been a growing concern in Marina where dozens of RV's and cars park on Lapis Road.
The ordinance prohibiting overnight parking on Lapis Road will not go into effect while the implementation of the Safe Parking Program is delayed.
Social Services Director Elliott Robinson said, “Implementation of The Safe Parking Program is a priority for the Board of Supervisors, however it is important to make sure all the elements of the contract with the service provider are in place. Additionally, the County is very sensitive to the concerns of the surrounding community and wishes to continue dialogue to give concerned parties an opportunity to identify other locations they may find more acceptable.”
KION's Mariana Hicks has the full story at 10 and 11 p.m.