Venice RV Parking War Heats Up

img_0801While Venice residents await the world’s best coffee shop, they are dealing with a more bitter tasting issue.  As the Los Angeles Times reported last month, the problem of overnight camping in recreational vehicles (“RVs”) in Venice is boiling over. Los Angeles Metblogs has covered the issue of overnight RV camping in Los Angeles area neighborhoods for some time.  The latest development in Venice is the proposal, credited to City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, to create so-called “special zones” away from the neighborhood streets, where people would be able to spend the night in their vehicles.  According to the Times, Santa Barbara, CA and Eugene, OR have such parking zones.

Without going into the history of the RV camping problem in Venice, suffice it to say that there are two competing interests.  On one hand, it’s likely that many of the people living in their RVs and cars on Venice streets are otherwise homeless, and the country’s economic recession, or depression, is only making the problem worse.  Obviously, no sane person wants to throw these folks out of their vehicles and literally on the streets.  On the other hand, many Venice homeowners say that the RV campers not only take away parking spaces from Venice residents, they are also a threat to public safety, health, and property values.   In last week’s local Argonaut newspaper, Venice resident Georgann Abraham, on behalf of the Venice Stakeholders Association, took out a near-full page ad in which she related that “I … heard my neighbor yelling at a woman, who had been living in an RV in front of our homes, as she was about to dump a very large bucket of urine and feces in front of our homes.”  Abraham points out that such raw sewage dumped from RVs onto the streets eventually makes its way into the Santa Monica Bay, where it threatens the health of swimmers and local residents.

This Saturday, February 21st, from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM, Venice voters will be able to vote in a special election being held by the Venice Neighborhood Council at the Venice Public Library.  The election consists of two ballot initiatives on whether Venice residents may continue to establish “Overnight Parking Districts” which restrict overnight parking to residents and public safety officers.  According to Abraham’s ad, currently, Venice residents may establish such parking restrictions in their local “blocks” by a 2/3 vote, and the first of the two voting initiatives, if passed, would take away this right.

I’m not enough of an expert to know whether the special zones proposal, in conjunction with the continued right to establish overnight parking restrictions on Venice streets, is the best solution.  However, I do know that RV camping in Venice is a problem, and, amid all the accusations and name-calling on both sides, the special zones idea is the only actual proposed solution that I have heard.

4 Replies to “Venice RV Parking War Heats Up”

  1. I think the economy is having an impact on the number of nomadic, homeless people living out of RVs. Here in NoHo we’ve had a few of those types taking up residence beneath freeway underpasses. I’ve even seen elder couples living in cars too.

  2. I think the ones in NoHo just shifted from Silverlake when that are enforced the ban on Riverside drive.

    ITs getting bad in the little parks along the foothills, even in those posted “no camping”.

    I think its a bad idea to allow setting up of these little hoovervilles. Walmart allows them to camp there, and even has roaming security, let them go there to keep the streets clear and parking available for the residents of the neighborhood.

  3. It’s a shame that it has come to this. But more the shame is that residents of Venice can just make it illegal to use the city streets.

    Everybody paid the taxes to build those streets. A simple time limit on all parking should be the only enforced measure. This keeps junkers from building up for years.

    If people are pouring shit on the lawns, there’s already a law regarding that. It has nothing to do with small communities enacting their own personally benificial parking restrictions.

  4. @rogerdodger — I’m all for enforcing existing measures, such as posted parking time limits. My earlier linked post was all about that. However, in this case, while such enforcement might get these vehicles off of the Venice neighborhood streets at night, it would not solve the problem of where they should then go. It may be that designated safe zones are needed.

    Second, as to streets where the vehicles are parking in metered spaces, as one commenter pointed out on my earlier post, many of the people who use their vehicles for camping on the streets have handicapped tags, and Los Angeles exempts such vehicles from the time limits in such spaces. It’s a ridiculous loophole that must have been intended to give drivers with handicapped tags *more* time to get in an out of their vehicles and do their activities while parked, which is understandable, but it could not possibly have been intended for such drivers to camp in their vehicles overnight. Nevertheless, that is the effect, and therefore only an overnight restriction with no loophole, rather than a simple time limit, would prevent camping in the metered spots.

    Finally, the dumping that I related was in the street, not on someone’s lawn. But your point about enforcing littering and other existing laws is well taken, and hopefully there’s one that would prohibit such dumping.

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