Residents of Venice, Calif., who want restrictions on overnight parking for oversize vehicles can now move forward with petitions that would get city signs in place on their blocks, the LA Weekly reported.
Responding to criticism that his office has been slow to make moves when it comes to dealing the beach community’s “mobile homeless” issues, which include recent reports of sewage dumping, Councilman Bill Rosendahl this week opened his own floodgates for no-oversize-vehicle zones that would take effect overnight.
Residents would have to get two-thirds of their blocks to sign on in order to get the restrictions, which would apply to vehicles taller than seven feet or more than 22 feet long. They would be prohibited from parking on a block from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m.
“For too long, residents of Venice have sought relief from the proliferation of RVs, campers and other oversize vehicles in front of their homes,” Rosendahl said. “The California Coastal Commission has wrongly denied Venice the same parking restrictions other communities have. This is one of the few tools we have at our disposal.”
The city council would still need to re-approve the parking zones, however.
The move comes amid an epic battle over deeper parking restrictions, called Overnight Parking Districts (OPD), rejected by the California Coastal Commission. The city of Los Angeles has filed suit arguing that the commission doesn’t have the right to restrict such resident-only zones in the municipality.
The OPDs have split Venice largely among the pro- and anti-homeless and, arguably, between old-school liberal residents and more moneyed newcomers who want the RV dwellers to go away.
Rosendahl, who has claimed the middle ground, has launched a program, called “Streets To Homes,” that would provide lot parking for RVs overnight while providing the rig-dwellers social services and eventually finding them more permanent digs.
Supporters of special parking lots in Venice, Calif., where RV dwellers would be able to stay overnight issued an “action alert” Monday (Aug. 16), calling out opponents for allegedly disseminating “propaganda” regarding the issue, the LA Weekly reported.
“Most outrageous have been claims of increased crimes such as arson, prostitution, drug sales, home invasion burglaries and even murder perpetrated by people in RV’s,” states the alert by the Venice Action Alliance. “The LAPD acknowledges that there has never been one shred of evidence to support these claims. To the contrary, an RV-dweller was the person who identified the Venice arson suspect to the LAPD.”
The city’s “Streets to Homes” program is a go, with Councilman Bill Rosendahl funding it to the tune of $750,000. The idea is to allow RV dwellers in his Westside district, specifically Venice, to park overnight in specified lots. Officials hope to have the program off the ground in late fall.
Opponents have been hammering the concept, saying that such rig-dwellers often bring crime, drugs and even prostitution with them wherever they go — and that putting them in lots near residential neighborhoods overnight is not going to solve the problems they create.
Indeed, the city of Los Angeles officially deems the RV issue in Venice “blight,” at least according to a recent filing by the city attorney’s office that seeks to overturn the California Coastal Commission’s denial of residential permit parking for Venice.
But proponents of “Streets to Homes” say it’s a humane way to retain and eventually house people who have a stake in the community without sweeping them under the rug.