Town Square

Post a New Topic

Young Menlo Park couple could face fines of $500 per day for living in driveway RV

Original post made on Nov 21, 2019

Arlena Bain and Alex Mulholland, 27, moved into an RV at Bain's great-grandmother's Menlo Park home to help out around the house. But come Dec. 3, their housing situation will cease to be an option, and they could face serious fines.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 21, 2019, 11:41 AM

Comments (24)

Posted by Happy Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 21, 2019 at 2:25 pm

Happy Resident is a registered user.

Move in with grandmother. Continue to help her. Sell the RV and use the proceeds to pay grandmother some rent and pay for groceries. Possible?

Posted by Obvious
a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Nov 21, 2019 at 2:48 pm

Moving in with grandma is of course the obvious answer. Instead of having the family solve this simple issue, they are trying to have the city solve it. Living in Grandma's driveway in a RV is not acceptable to the neighborhood. So do the right thing.

Posted by Please...
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Nov 21, 2019 at 3:01 pm

Possible to have some empathy for a low-income couple?

Posted by Member
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 21, 2019 at 3:13 pm

If moving into grandmother's was an option we would of already. This shouldn't be an issue city or family. And other rvs in other parts of Menlo Park aren't having to deal with this. Plus the complaint made towards us was false so... if the city is banning rvs then all rvs should be restricted not specifically just ours. We do pay rent fyi.

Posted by No Easy Solutions
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 21, 2019 at 3:42 pm

Do agree with Member's comment above. I do see RVs parked in drive ways in MP that have been there for a while. This is not uniform application of the ordinance, just targeted towards those only living in them?

Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 21, 2019 at 4:03 pm

Gee the chief isn't paying for a taxi to haul them and the RV to Ocean Beach in SF?

Posted by editoratlarge
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2019 at 6:13 pm

editoratlarge is a registered user.

There are RVs parked in driveways in my neighborhood. I can see people complaining if it were in the street, but it’s not. [Portion removed; incivility violates terms of use.]

Posted by Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 21, 2019 at 6:13 pm

Awhile back we were thinking of buying a smaller RV for weekend trips. Realized the City wouldn’t let us keep it in our back yard so we scrapped the idea

There’s a home on Willow near East Creek and Waverly. Been there for years, basically store there, no different than these folks.

Code enforcement doesn’t do things on their own, they wait for a call then they go out and start citing you.

You kids ought ask De Anza if you can park while you’re still enrolled, or even Stanford. Some colleges are opening space for struggling students.

Good luck

Posted by Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 21, 2019 at 6:57 pm

Menlo Park seems to be the only city locally that has decent rules and enforcement about RV's. Of course you can't leave one parked in your driveway endlessly. It's a total eyesore for the rest of the neighborhood to have to look at. Just like you can't take over public space to live on as your own (in your RV.) I do have sympathy for people with smaller budgets, but I don't think that allowing them to live in an expensive neighborhood in a way that degrades it is a fair solution.
Thank you Menlo!

Posted by Ryan
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2019 at 8:04 pm

Too bad your not in Austin Texas. We'd get you a spot to fix this situation. Managed 3 RV parks here and its not hard , we've even set up temp spots when were full to compensate for tenants of other parks due to flooding or storm damage. You might ask around. An extension cord with adapter , garden hose , and septic clean out is all you would need for a camper that small.

Posted by Vanessa
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 21, 2019 at 8:10 pm

It’s curious because I’ve seen RV’s stored in many affluent areas of Menlo Park (Sharon Heights, and the neighborhood adjacent to Atherton off of Valparaiso east of El Camino) without issue, some of which look like they haven’t moved in literally years. I wonder what the difference is? Oh yeah, their owners are affluent... It’s almost as if the Menlo Park Police Department has an entirely different agenda for our end of the city —spoiler alert, they do.

Posted by MPCA
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 21, 2019 at 8:14 pm

Parking RV in the driveway and living in it is not a housing solution. Thank you MP for taking action to support and protect our neighborhoods and residents' quality of life. Parking RV, dilapidated unregistered cars and rusted boats in driveways or side yards is illegal in MP, it is unsanitary, it is unsightly and it is selfish. I sympathize with the low income young couple, but they are young, they should have life skills to manage life and should be able to figure out a solution without negatively effecting a single family R1 residential neighborhood. I will be honest, I sympathize with the neighbors who live next to their unsightly trailer more. I am grateful to Ms.. Hilario for taking action and working with neglectful neighbors all over MP in an effort to clean up their properties and better all of our lives. Happy Thanksgiving and all the best!

Posted by MPCA
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 21, 2019 at 8:56 pm

A trailer habitation in a R1 zoned neighborhood is not a solution. RV parks are zoned specifically for RVs. The young couple earns over $62K plus tips, not tremendous, but enough to leave grandma's driveway at their age. They are way past the dependency stage. Thank you MP for protecting and supporting our quality of life and not allowing our neighborhoods to become campgrounds.

Posted by MPCA
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Nov 21, 2019 at 9:13 pm

Someone suggested and attempted:

(1) suggesting building giant fences

- building codes and regulations mandate fence heights, so a "giant" fence is not an option for those residents adhere to municipal rules and regulations in a civilized community like Menlo Park

(2) attempting to shame those who don't want their R1 zoned neighborhood turned into a trailer park as "rich"
- thanks for trying, does not work

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Posted by West Menlo
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 21, 2019 at 9:47 pm

I know of two RVs parked in west Menlo that had code enforcement called on them in the last few months and had to leave. Whether you agree with the laws or not, it seems to me that they are being enforced fairly across all of MP when neighbors complain.

Posted by LLAP
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 21, 2019 at 10:33 pm

Parking in Tanya's driveway is not a solution. She too has neighbors who would not want their neighborhood turned into a camp ground RV park cat sanctuary. A residential trailer should be parked in an appropriately zoned area. I don't want to solve this couple's issue, they earn enough to find an apartment near by, they are 27 years old and should be able to adapt and survive without imposing their lifestyle onto others. Live Long and Prosper.

Posted by disgusted
a resident of another community
on Nov 21, 2019 at 11:17 pm

Petty bureaucracy and callous NIMBYs versus decent people struggling to keep their heads above water. I know which side I'm on.

You can tell how "sympathetic" the people in the neighborhood are just from the comments here. Their "sympathy" for unquestioned hardship is so meager that they prefer ejecting this couple into total uncertainty rather than endure the terrible "unsightliness", as though their neighborhood was Versailles. Well I see the area on Google Maps and if someone hadn't pointed out the RV I wouldn't even have noticed it. The photos here aren't "unsightly", much less "unsanitary" as one whiner suggests.

The only purpose to the so-called "sympathy" of the NIMBYs is to relieve their own conscience and morally wash their hands of the matter. The idea that the RV residents are the "selfish" ones in this story is an indication of how morally warped our culture is.

Finally, the coward who informed on the couple deserves special attention in this sorry episode. How about trying to communicate with the RV couple instead of sicking the police on them? Tell the couple you wish the RV wasn't there forever and see if they wouldn't agree to find a new arrangement by some reasonable future date. That's how the issue should be confronted in a decent community, but as we see this neighborhood is no community (few are in America).

I'm sorry for Arlena and Alex. I hope you're able to land on your feet. My appreciation to the residents of the neighborhood who didn't try to screw them over. For the "sympathetic" others, I have nothing but contempt. And for the anonymous coward, I hope karma is real because they richly merit something in return for being a miserable weasel.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by Dee in CA
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 22, 2019 at 2:09 am

I'm kind of in the same boat you're in right now. My landlord sold the house we were renting with absolutely no notification to us. Just an annoying real estate agent and the new owner popped in and said we need to leave because he was moving twelve of his employees into the house. Like seriously what the hell?! We don't have a huge income and the rent prices in California are absolutely ridiculous so all we had was our RV...Now where to park the damn thing until we can find a place to live...hmmm. It's tough to find a place to park because you're right, all of the RV and Mobile home parks are packed and don't have vacancy. You can't stay at a wayside for more than eight hours, a major portion of the campsites close during the cold seasons and there's a few open but the prices are outrageous. I'm parked at a fairground camp area right now where they're letting us park for a max of one month and it's the cheapest one we found at $46 a night. Times are tough and sometimes we fall and need to pick ourselves up from unfortunate circumstances and I think that the neighbors should mind their own damn business. Live and let live. I mean seriously, it's the holidays and all these people can think about is that they don't like the way an RV looks in someone else's driveway? Are they that miserable with their own lives that they need to kick someone else when they're down? They're disgusting and they should be ashamed of themselves. And what if you parked the RV in grandma's backyard? Is there a loophole in this? I'd intentionally find one just to piss them off because they really deserve a slap in the face. They also really need to get a life. I wish the best for you and hope everything works out. As for the neighbors...they can rot.

Posted by Will
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 22, 2019 at 3:08 am

Why can't Americans worry about there driveway and let others take care of there's. You own property but can't have an rv in your driveway what? Worry about the corruption in our government think of ways to stop hate..stupid people stupid laws get a hobby..i think there's enough homeless people...change the laws change the government..enough is enough..

Posted by A Nightmare
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 22, 2019 at 7:04 am

oh, so this story is why Mueller proposed creating an RV park at the USGS site! typical knee jerk response to an on going criss that the City of Menlo Park has ignored..If the City wants to partner with LifeMoves and create housing - permanent and emergency housing - at the USGS then I'm all for it. Allowing RV's to park there without support support services such as bathrooms, showers, laundry facilities, waste disposal, and 24 hour security patrols is a nightmare. Considering that most of the RV's used for housing and parked on the streets are actually being RENTED by slumlords who are charging the occupants, there will be many greedy businessmen taking advantage of the "solution" proposed by Mueller. And if the City or a Non Profit were to provide the proper infrastructure necessary to accommodate an RV park at the USGS, why not just create low income housing there? Also, there is the need for emergency shelters in the area during natural disasters or other emergencies, war time or economic emergencies. My suggestion is to create an emergency shelter with all the necessary amenities and also build low income permanent housing on site at the USGS. The emergency shelter can be used by people on the wait list for permanent housing and could also be used by the community in times of emergency. But just opening up the parking lot and allowing RV's to park the there is not the way to address the current crisis and comes with a whole host of problems. I would be in favor with an RV park at the USGS only if all the amenities were provided, including security and that it was bundled with a package to provide permanent low income housing and related services. Otherwise the RV park will grow out of control and impact the surrounding neighborhood, because there IS a housing crisis that requires more than a bandaid approach.

Posted by Dee Shnutz
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Nov 22, 2019 at 7:28 am

In the meantime, just move it every 5 days. On the street, back in driveway. Take photos, which are time stamped as evidence of compliance. Goteem

Posted by Diana H
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Nov 22, 2019 at 7:31 am

Amen to Dee and Will if our world had more people like you guys we would be definitely living in a love peaceful mindful world. Thank you Dee for expressing you compassion. It made my day no doubt. In a world that expresses so much hate .instead of expressing the love of power you expressed the power of love for the young couple in this situation . humanity should be the concern especially if you've been blessed and help the ones that struggle dont kick someone when their down what kind of person does that?and Bill your right every needs to mind their own driveway as im sure that the young couple had no plans of laying a foundation for the rv in the driveway

Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 22, 2019 at 7:51 am

EPA has trailers parked by the park entrance to Cooley landing. You could probably live off their till you figure things out.

Why not move into your grandmother's garage?

Posted by Alex
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 22, 2019 at 10:28 am

Ridiculous people are worried about somebodys rv in the driveway when other people in the world are dealing with real. Issues like hunger strikes and bad government. People in menlo park are flat out nosy and [portion removed; keep it civil] human beings. The money in menlo park has gotten to your heads. The point people fail to realize is these people are forced to homelessnes in less time than a tennant in a apt or rental. I wish this couple the best in they fight.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Almanac Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Which homes should lose gas service first?
By Sherry Listgarten | 5 comments | 16,337 views

Boichik Bagels is opening its newest – and largest – location in Santa Clara this week
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,702 views

I Do I Don't: How to build a better marriage Page 15
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,368 views

By Laura Stec | 14 comments | 1,235 views


Support local families in need

Your contribution to the Holiday Fund will go directly to nonprofits supporting local families and children in need. Last year, Almanac readers and foundations contributed over $300,000.