Briefing Room: permits and motor homes in Seal Beach

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I’m wondering if motor homes (mohos) need a permit to park overnight or even for days. We live in Bridgeport and there are three mohos that regularly park along 5th St or near the Pacific Inn. There are others that will park on 5th and make it look at times like a used moho lot. Isn’t there a law regarding sleeping overnight in a moho?

Franny

Hi Franny,

Thanks for your questions. There are a few local laws that pertain to motor homes. Anytime someone wishes to park an oversized vehicle on any City street overnight, they need to obtain an oversized vehicle permit from the Police Department. What’s overnight? Per this section of the Seal Beach Municipal Code it is between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. What’s oversized? A vehicle or combination of vehicles (car and trailer) that exceeds 20 feet in length or 90 inches in width. Unattached trailers cannot be parked on any street.

So Franny, these oversized vehicles cannot park on Marina Drive or anywhere else unless they have a permit. However, our night watch officers regularly check on these motor homes and the majority are under 20 feet in length or have obtained a permit from us. If not, we issue them citations.

Also, vehicles cannot remain parked in one location for over 72 hours on any street in Seal Beach. Our parking control officers regularly mark vehicles for 72 hours violations and issuing warnings. After 72 hours, cars that do not move are either cited or towed.

As far as sleeping in vehicles goes, it is also prohibited in Seal Beach between the hours of 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. Although we can and do enforce this section of our Municipal Code, we do so with understanding of each individual’s unique circumstances. I’ll give you an example. Not too long ago I contacted a young man sleeping in his car in Old Town overnight. The young man told me that he was a struggling college student who was working two jobs just to keep his head above water. He had recently lost his apartment and had nowhere else to go. He was faced with the tough decision to either sleep in his car or somewhere on the streets. I decided not to issue this student a ticket, and instead I connected him with resources for temporary housing and other social benefits.

As you can see, there are sometimes circumstances which require a level of compassion and understanding. Our job is not only to enforce the law, but more importantly to help all members of our community.

All of our officers understand the concept of community-oriented policing, and that is one of the reasons I’m so proud to wear the Seal Beach Police patches and badge.