Thursday, February 14, 2013

Overnight Restricted Parking Gains in Venice

Settlement Reached in OPD Lawsuit

We are encouraged to report that last week the California Coastal Commission tentatively approved a settlement of the VSA lawsuit, which will give Venice residents the opportunity to implement overnight restricted parking (OPDs) on their streets.
As you may remember, following the Commission’s denial of OPDs, the VSA filed a lawsuit against the Commission and the City of Los Angeles arguing that no Coastal Development Permit was required for OPD signs. Eventually, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich agreed with us and the City joined our lawsuit against the Commission. 
An earlier, tentative settlement went to the Commission about a year and half ago, but it was rejected by extremists on the Commission. In the intervening time the Commission membership has dramatically changed; “No Oversize Vehicle” signage was installed on over 100 blocks in Venice; the LAPD started to aggressively enforce the ban on sleeping in vehicles (LAMC 85.02); and Councilman Rosendahl’s Streets to Homes program was implemented, which moved over 150 people, many living in vehicles, to services and housing. 
RVs on Harding Avenue in Presidents Row 2-14-13

However, non-resident vehicles continue to occupy very limited street parking spaces in several Venice neighborhoods. In some instances, vehicle dwellers have simply moved to vans, small trucks, and SUVs, which are not subject to the restriction on oversize vehicles; this is particularly acute during the summer months. Tourists staying in boardwalk-adjacent hotels still park their rental cars overnight in residential neighborhoods. Some boardwalk vendors are now using vans as storage units for their products and parking them 24/7 on streets such as Westminster and Brooks. In other areas, auto garages and car rental companies are storing vehicles overnight on residential streets. And the larger campers and RVs keep testing the limits, taking up residence in Oakwood, on Rose Avenue, on Venice Blvd., or in the Presidents Row area until the LAPD can get around to enforcing the OVO (Oversize Vehicle Ordinance) signs or LAMC 85.02.
The VSA and its attorney John Henning have put in considerable time and effort over the last year to arrive at a settlement that will allow Venetians to install overnight restricted permit parking on their blocks from 2:00 to 5:00 a.m., providing that the individual block has demonstrated via petitions a two-thirds majority among residents in favor of the action. This solution stems from experience with the OVO signs showing that if people intent on parking overnight cannot park during those hours, they won’t park there at all.
The process of arriving at this settlement entailed cajoling the City to devote the time and staff to reach a new settlement. We also had to fight off an ill-conceived proposal from the Department of Transportation that would have given OPDs to 990 blocks in Venice while requiring 10 blocks in the Windward Traffic Circle area to convert existing parallel parking to diagonal parking and forever give up the right to have OPDs on those blocks. The VSA worked with residents to defeat that concept and instead developed a proposal to exempt from OPDs metered parking spaces and spaces fronting on government uses and commercial buildings near the beach. This assures the Coastal Commission that there will be adequate early morning street parking near the beach for fishers, surfers, and joggers before the county lots open at 6:00 a.m.
We have also heard from the DOT that it will be submitting a proposal to the Commission for an approval-in-concept for a preferential permit parking plan for commercial corridors (e.g., Abbot Kinney and Rose Avenue) that would allow residents within 1500 feet of major commercial streets to apply for 24-hour permit parking that would limit non-resident parking to a few hours, while residents with a City permit could park there with no restrictions. The VSA proposed this concept several months ago to City officials and we are pleased to see that DOT is pursuing this plan with Commission staff.
The Commission is likely to hold a hearing on the OPD Coastal Development Permit, which includes the elements of the settlement; on :
June 12, 13 or 14
at the Long Beach City Council Chambers
333 W. Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach
We will keep you posted on the hearing date and where you can send letters and emails supporting OPDs (and the Commercial Corridor Preferential Permit Plan).
In light of these developments, your financial support for the VSA would be greatly appreciated. This has been a long and expensive legal battle and legal bills remain from the last few months. We would greatly appreciate if you would make a tax-deductible contribution to the VSA of $200 or more to help us defray these costs. Contributions can be made by PayPal or sent to 453 Rialto Avenue, Venice, CA  90291.
Many thanks for all of your support!