The issue of Overnight Parking Districts (OPDs) in Venice just will not die.
Stakeholders of the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) will get a chance on Saturday, February 21, to vote on two competing stakeholder-originated initiatives regarding the OPDs established for Venice by the Los Angeles City Council. The election will be held at the Venice Public Library between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and will be governed by rules posted on the VNC website at www.VeniceNC.org/node/1154.
Initiative A would rescind OPDs in Venice. The text reads: “To fairly represent Venice, the Venice Neighborhood Council (VNC) must rescind any VNC board approval of Overnight Parking Districts in Venice and transmit a letter stating such to the Los Angeles City Council office, the Bureau of Engineering, the Department of Transportation, and the California Coastal Commission.”
Initiative B would affirm Venice stakeholders’ right to form Overnight Parking Districts (OPDs). It provides: “Venice stakeholders re-affirm that Venice residents have the same democratic right as other L.A. residents to establish, by 2/3rds petition signatures, OPDs for their blocks to preserve parking for residents and for nighttime security, and call upon the VNC to communicate affirmation of this right to pertinent governmental bodies.”
“The issues of Overnight Parking Districts and of people sleeping overnight in vehicles on city streets have been hotly discussed in Venice,” said Mike Newhouse, VNC president. “These two initiatives express differing views on what actions the community should take.”
The OPDs – in effect in many areas of Los Angeles and Santa Monica – grew out residents being unable to find street parking in Venice, which is notoriously short on driveways or garages that have not been converted to some other use. Then too, there was the growing number of homeless people living in their vehicles and parking around the clock in Venice.
The VNC held a town hall meeting in June of last year, and the vast majority of those speaking opposed the OPD plan, arguing that it would amount to requiring all Venetians to pay to park in front of their own homes (there is a fee for the permits, of course), while cruelly forcing those who live in RVs and mobile homes out of their vehicles and on to the streets.
Los Angeles has a citywide ordinance governing OPDs, but such districts are established on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis pursuant to that ordinance. The proposal to establish such districts in Venice, while it had the blessing of L.A. City Councilman Rosendahl and the VNC, drew much opposition from individual Venetians (and from the Venice Town Council and Venice Justice Committee) on the grounds that it limited coastal access, discriminated against the poor and homeless, and forced residents to pay to park on the street (if they could find a space).
In November, the Los Angeles Board of Public Works denied 103 appeals filed by Venice residents who challenged the Bureau of Engineering’s August decision to require resident permits to park on Venice streets between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. In an effort to find a middle ground, Rosendahl has said that if the OPD plan is put into effect, the districts will be canvassed on a block-by-block basis, and only if two-thirds of the residents on a given block favor the OPD will that block be restricted.
So, the way it now works is residents of a block within an OPD can request restrictions by submitting a petition signed by 2/3rds of the residents on the block and other documents to the VNC, which reviews and approves the petitions and forwards them to City Hall for action.
The VNC reports that it has approved over 40 petitions to date. The City has posted signs restricting parking on several blocks in the OPD east of Lincoln Boulevard near Penmar Park. Posting of signs in five other OPDs is pending approval by the California Coastal Commission.
And on Saturday, February 21, Venetians vote again.