Yesue et al v. The City of Sebastopol
On Oct. 25, 2022, the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, Disability Rights Advocates, Legal Aid of Sonoma County, and California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. filed suit against the city of Sebastopol for enacting an ordinance that unlawfully prohibits vehicles “used for human habitation” from parking anywhere within city limits during the day.
Unlike similar bans in other Bay Area cities, the Sebastopol ordinance isn’t based on concerns about traffic safety or vehicle size. Instead, the ordinance explicitly targets vehicles “designed or altered for human habitation,” allowing police to enforce the ordinance in a discriminatory manner. Although the ordinance prohibits parking any vehicle in which a person could sleep, the city has made it clear that they intend to enforce the ordinance only against people who are living in their vehicles.
In addition to being discriminatory, Sebastopol's ordinance is uniquely punitive and enacts a “one strike, you’re out” policy that calls for confiscating and impounding people’s only means of shelter with the first citation.
The lawsuit seeks to stop the ordinance from being enforced and ultimately have it declared void. Trial is scheduled for the Spring of 2024.
Civil Rights Groups Sue City of Sebastopol for Ordinance Aimed at Displacing Residents Living in Their Vehicles (October 25, 2022)