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Homeless Campers Told To Move On

Erika Mahoney
Lapis Road in unincorporated Monterey County has become a community for a number of homeless people. Now, those living there will only be allowed to park and stay overnight.

A Monterey County road on the outskirts of Marina that has grown into a homeless community is getting new restrictions.

The road is called Lapis Road and it runs parallel to Highway 1. As you drive by, you can see a long row of RVs and cars parked there. According to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, the number of homeless people living there has spiked over the last year. Undersheriff John Mineau says so have the complaints.

“There’s the oil cans and the gas cans and generators and leaking vehicle chassis. And then of course the human waste that comes from those folks that just don’t have functioning septic systems in their RVs” says Mineau.

Camping on Lapis Road is illegal. So the Sheriff’s Office planned to make everyone move by this Thursday, August 31. But in a last minute decision, the Monterey County Supervisors decided to hold off on that. They voted to allow parking from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. there for 90 days, until November 30.  

Bella Maddox has lived on Lapis Road for the past 7 months.  She’s worried about whether she can get enough gas money to move her RV and car. And she’s wondering where she and her neighbors will go during the day.  

“I know where 90 percent of them are going to wound up. Walmart Parking Lot, where they were before Lapis Road. And then Marina residents are going to raise Cain about that,” says Maddox.  

Supervisor Jane Parker says this temporary solution will give the county time to establish safe overnight parking somewhere else and then tackle the bigger problem of homelessness.

“Whether you like the temporary solution we have on Lapis Road or not, please join in on advocating for more affordable housing, more adequate pay scales for people,” Parker says.

The new restrictions start Friday and come with conditions. Those staying overnight on Lapis Road must register with the Coalition of Homeless Services Providers, provide contact information, make sure their vehicle registration is current, dispose waste at proper disposal facilities only, and utilize the Safe Parking Program when it becomes available. A parking lot near Monterey County’s District 4 office is in the works.