The California Coastal Commission, City of Los Angeles and a Venice stakeholders group appear to have tentatively settled on a challenge to the commission’s denial last year of permits for overnight parking restrictions on Venice streets.
In a lawsuit filed against the Coastal Commission and City of Los Angeles, the Venice Stakeholders Association alleged that the commission failed to follow the California Coastal Act when it voted in June to deny coastal development permits for overnight parking districts (OPDs) in five areas of Venice.
The stakeholders association sought a writ of mandate with the complaint to invalidate the commission’s denial of the permits and a declaration that the coastal agency lacks jurisdiction in regards to overnight parking restrictions in the city. The complaint claimed that both the commission and city wrongly believe that the commission has jurisdiction over the establishment of OPDs between 2 and 6 a.m.
But under a proposed settlement of the case, the jurisdiction of the Coastal Commission to approve restrictive parking permits would not be challenged while the city would have the option to implement parking restrictions in certain areas in the future.
Mark Ryavec, Venice Stakeholders Association president, said attorneys of the groups have recently been in discussions and the commission addressed the proposed agreement in closed session late last month but he could yet not disclose specific terms of the settlement. An attorney for the Coastal Commission, Chris Pederson, confirmed that the parties have been in discussion regarding a settlement but he declined to comment on specifics until the deal is finalized.
“The parties have definitely made very good progress and we’re hopeful the case will be settled but it’s not finalized yet,” Pederson said.
The issue of overnight parking districts and the lawsuit will be part of a closed session report to the Los Angeles City Council, said city attorney spokesman Frank Mateljan, adding that the office cannot comment on a tentative agreement at this time.
Ryavec explained that the settlement would essentially reverse the commission’s denial of parking permits last June and allow for residents, who vote by a two-thirds majority, to eventually have overnight restricted parking on their block. The process to obtain OPDs would be similar to the city’s proposal last year, when it sought to restrict parking between 2 and 6 a.m. in five Venice areas, he said.
“It’s very similar to the original proposal with some fine-tuning,” he said.
Ryavec said his association entered the settlement because it will help achieve its goal of enabling residents to eventually seek restrictions on their streets. He stressed that the lawsuit did not challenge the entire jurisdiction of the commission in the coastal zone but only concerned the city’s right to limit parking between 2 and 6 a.m.
“I think we turned the corner,” Ryavec said in regards to the tentative deal. “We wouldn’t have agreed to it if it didn’t give us the tools we need to put up these kinds of restrictions on our blocks.”
As one of the conditions of the proposed deal, state Assemblyman Ted Lieu said he dropped Assembly Bill 2228, which stated that the City of Los Angeles would not have to receive the approval of the Coastal Commission to establish parking restrictions on public streets in the coastal zone between 2 and 5 a.m. Lieu argued that the city should be the one to decide how best to deal with concerns of RVs parking on its streets for extended periods and not the statewide agency.
While he reiterated his belief that the city’s interest in regulating its streets between 2 and 5 a.m. should outweigh coastal access interests, the assemblyman said he was pleased that the parties have come to an informal agreement on the lawsuit.
“I’m very pleased that the parties could work out a solution,” Lieu said. “My hope is that the settlement will be ratified by the Coastal Commission, and as with any settlement, there is a give and a take on both sides.”
Members of the group Venice Action Alliance had opposed Lieu’s proposed bill for attempting to remove the jurisdiction of the Coastal Commission in deciding if coastal zone parking restrictions can take effect. Some alliance members said they found it odd that Lieu dropped his bill as a condition of the agreement because he had denied introducing the bill as a response to the lawsuit, but they were pleased nonetheless.
“It’s a strange turn of events that with the settlement of the lawsuit it suddenly becomes relevant to his bill,” Venice Action Alliance member David Ewing said.
Fellow alliance member Karen Wolfe added, “We’re delighted (Lieu) has withdrawn AB 2228 without question, and we’re grateful to him for that.”
But Wolfe and Ewing took issue with potential settlement terms that would allow for coastal zone parking limits in early morning hours, saying that if OPDs are implemented on a certain block it could create a “domino effect” on other areas.
“Our position is still that we’re not in favor of any settlement that prohibits public coastal access,” Wolfe said.
The alliance members say they hope city leaders like Councilman Bill Rosendahl will continue pushing other efforts, particularly a safe overnight parking program and an amendment to the city’s oversize vehicle parking law, before any OPDs would take effect. Last month, Rosendahl called for Venice Surplus Real Property Trust Fund money to be used toward a program that would designate lots where those in need could park safely overnight and have access to services.