Moving forward in an effort to establish overnight parking restrictions on streets west of Lincoln Boulevard in Venice, Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said he has secured funding for the applications to create parking districts in four Venice neighborhoods, as well as one in Villa Marina.
Venice streets located west of Lincoln Boulevard currently do not have overnight parking restrictions, as they are situated in an area under the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission, which does not want parking restrictions to inhibit beach access. While there are some existing overnight parking limits in Venice, they are in areas east of Lincoln and outside coastal commission jurisdiction.
Residents say the nonrestricted parking areas in the coastal zone have allowed for vehicles, particularly recreational vehicles (RVs), to park on streets such as Rose Avenue and remain there for days at a time.
They claim that the stationary vehicles are turning the areas into a campground, creating unsanitary conditions and reducing the availability of parking in the neighborhood.
Concerned residents have called on the Venice Neighborhood Council and Rosendahl to try to relocate the stationary vehicles by pursuing establishment of overnight parking restrictions, primarily between 2 and 6 a.m.
The process to create overnight parking restriction districts in the coastal zone involves applying for a coastal development permit that would be reviewed by the California Coastal Commission before approving the restrictions. Venice residents have identified five neighborhoods where overnight parking should be prohibited, except by permit — the Oxford Triangle, President’s Row, East and West Venice and the Villa Marina area near Marina del Rey.
Rosendahl, who acknowledged that solving the overnight parking issue will be a challenge, said he has secured between $70,000 and $90,000 to use for the coastal development permit applications.
“Finding a solution is not easy but we’re in the process of doing it,” Rosendahl said.
The councilman noted that he was able to locate the funding for the applications from city discretionary funds. The application process will be handled by the city Bureau of Engineering (BOE), which plans to include the four Venice areas under one application and the Villa Marina area on a separate one, said Ara Kasparian of the BOE.
The application process for the four Venice districts is expected to cost $70,000 and the Villa Marina district will cost another $20,000, Kasparian said.
The areas within the coastal zone are either under the city’s sole jurisdiction or the dual jurisdiction of the city and state (coastal commission), said Lisa Ochsner, Bureau of Engineering environmental supervisor. While three of the four proposed Venice districts are under the city’s jurisdiction they can still be appealed by the coastal commission, Ochsner said.
During the permit application process, the Bureau of Engineering plans to hire a consultant with environmental experience who will prepare a staff report on issues such as the impact to coastal access, Kasparian said. The process is expected to take months, he added.
A coastal commission deputy director has said that the commission might have an issue with the proposal to restrict parking until 6 a.m. but added that Venice appears to have a good reason why an overnight parking restriction is necessary.
Although the reality of Venice parking limits in the coastal zone may be months away, community members involved in the effort have praised the news that funding has been secured for the permit applications.
“I’m really happy that we have the money earmarked,” said Venice Neighborhood Council member Stewart Oscars, chair of the council’s Overnight Parking District Ad Hoc Committee.
Oscars said overnight parking limits can help improve safety in the community.
“We’re not doing anything dramatic here — all we’re asking is for the right to the street,” he said.
Some residents have argued that the people living in the RVs on the streets are being treated like criminals and the community should work to accommodate their situation. Rosendahl said he is determined to find alternative parking arrangements for the people who are living in their vehicles.
“We don’t want to criminalize the people in the campers,” Rosendahl stressed. “We want to find a solution to this that works for everyone.”
Venice Neighborhood Council members are also exploring potential solutions to the parking issue, including a program that was established in Santa Barbara that aims to help people move from RVs into permanent housing.
One local resident, Richard Mann, who has lived in an RV for 37 years and still stays in the Venice and Santa Monica areas, says that mobile living has been a “way of life” for him.
“Whenever you want to change your environment, you just turn your ignition on and move,” Mann says.
Mann, who says he enjoys the RV lifestyle, estimates that about 30 percent of those living in RVs do so by choice. He says he supports the city law that prohibits vehicles from staying in one spot for more than 72 hours and added that RV users should not abuse the privilege of parking on the streets.
If Mann learns that residents have an issue with him parking on the street for too long, he says he has no problem relocating.
But while other RV users in the community may not be so willing to move, Mann says that establishing overnight parking districts might not be the best way to resolve the parking issue.
“Let it stay neutral for a while,” said Mann, adding that more community meetings should be held to get input from the RV users and public.