The potential establishment of overnight parking restrictions in certain sections of Venice remains a contentious issue amongst people in the community, from residents living in homes to those living in recreational vehicles (RVs) on the streets.
Many residents have expressed concern over vehicles, primarily RVs, being parked on Venice streets for extended periods, claiming that they are turning the areas into a campground and creating unsanitary conditions in the neighborhood.
Local community and elected leaders have worked to address the situation by exploring potential alternatives for those staying in vehicles, but some admit there appears to be no easy solution.
“It’s a big deal to a lot of people on both sides of the issue,” said Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who represents Venice in the 11th District. “It is a hot-button issue and people are very emotional about it.”
The councilman said he respects the concerns of both the residents and people living in vehicles and notes that the city has been looking at ways to resolve the problem for everyone.
“It’s a work in progress without a resolution at this point,” he said.
Among the potential solutions being applied in other areas of the city, including Brentwood and San Pedro, is a pilot program that allows people to buy a permit to park their oversize vehicle on the street for three consecutive nights. If the program proves to be successful, Rosendahl said it’s something that could be applied in Venice.
Another proposal being considered by the Venice community is the establishment of overnight parking districts (OPDs) in five areas — the Oxford Triangle, Presidents Row, West Venice, East Venice and the Villa Marina area near Marina del Rey. All five parking districts are within the coastal zone and require a Coastal Development Permit.
If established, overnight parking would be prohibited in the parking districts between 2 and 6 a.m. nightly, with permits exempted. “No overnight parking” signs would be installed by the city Department of Transportation on a “block by block” basis upon written request from Rosendahl’s office.
The five applications for the Coastal Development Permits are being processed by the city Bureau of Engineering, which held a public hearing on the parking districts at Westminster Elementary School in Venice Thursday, June 26th. Bureau of Engineering representatives received public input at the meeting, which drew over 200 people, and intended to consider all written comments received through June 27th.
In reviewing the permit applications, the bureau will consider coastal issues and try to determine if there are any impacts on coastal access, said Dorothy Meyer, bureau spokeswoman.
Residents who are in favor of implementing overnight parking restrictions listed concerns about safety, sanitation and not being able to find parking spaces in their neighborhood.
“Like other areas of Venice, we in the Oxford Triangle have parking problems,” said resident Steve Freedman, referring to streets being used for vehicle storage. “[OPDs] would allow us to address such problems.”
Resident Marie Hammond said, “It disgusts me to see an RV parked for a week at a time in a two-hour zone,” adding that the parking districts would not interfere with beach access.
Some residents at the meeting, including Mark Ryavec and Stewart Oscars, pointed out how the districts would take effect only if they receive support from a majority of residents in the affected neighborhood.
“This is a real good process and it’s one more tool that will allow people to have control over their local parking,” said Oscars, who chairs the Venice Neighborhood Council’s OPD Committee.
But some addressed issues that have forced many of the RV residents to live in their vehicles.
“We don’t have enough housing in Venice that’s affordable,” resident Emily Winters said at the hearing.
Others said restricting overnight parking on streets would prevent guests from finding a place to park, while some staying in RVs chose to dispute claims that they are causing a nuisance.
“We are not doing drugs,” said one woman, who identified herself only as Laura. “We have a responsibility in this community.
“We are artists and vendors and are part of what makes Venice, Venice.”
Bureau of Engineering representatives said the public comments will be considered in reaching a decision to approve or deny the local Coastal Development Permits. The bureau will prepare a final staff report and the city engineer will decide to either approve, conditionally approve or deny the application.
The final staff report is expected to be posted by the middle of the month on the Bureau of Engineering Web site, http: //eng.lacity.org/techdocs/emg/En vironmental_Review_Documents .htm/.