Lawyers litigating over whether people can live and sleep in their cars in the city of San Luis Obispo formally agreed to mediation in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Wednesday.
City Attorney Christine Dietrick said she still must take the issue back to the City Council before mediation can proceed.
But Dietrick and attorneys for the Homeless Alliance — Saro Rizzo and Stewart Jenkins — have set a tentative mediation date of Aug. 2 to try to resolve the dispute connected to the enforcement of an ordinance prohibiting people from camping in their cars in the city.
Local mediator Scott Radovich has agreed to donate three hours of his time to the negotiations, and then the bill will be split, though Dietrick said she would find out whether the City Council would be willing to cover the tab. The mediation could last between three to eight hours, though no set timetable has been determined.
Homeless Alliance advocates say the citations issued for overnight camping — totaling about 70 since mid-February — are unconstitutional. They say they’re hoping for a broad program that allows many people to park in certain areas in the city.
Judge Charles Crandall is upholding his injunction relating to an ordinance passed in 1995 that was cited when tickets were issued in recent weeks.
A new ordinance with similar language was recently passed by the city; it hasn’t been used yet to issue any new tickets and remains in an educational outreach phase. But Dietrick said that the city reserves the right to issue new tickets under that ordinance, particularly if health and safety are at risk.
Crandall said the Homeless Alliance would have the option to file a request for a temporary restraining order if the new ordinance is cited in tickets but hopes mediation can satisfy both sides.
The mediation process and details discussed will remain confidential unless an agreement is reached. Details of that agreement would then be public record.