July 2008 – Venetians Not Pleased with Overnight Parking Districts

By Amanda Renner

More than 300 people lined the walls of the auditorium at Westminister School June 26, to voice their concerns on the possibility of overnight parking districts in Venice.

“All the comments received, both at the public hearing and by e-mail, mail, or fax that relate to coastal issues are considered in the decision to approve or deny the local coastal development permit,” Jimmy Tokeshi, a public relations specialist for the city’s Bureau of Engineering.

There are five parking districts: Oxford Triangle, Presidents Row, West Venice, East Venice and Villa Marina. According to a consultant, Dorothy Meyer of Camp, Dresser and McKee Inc., in order for the permits to take effect two thirds of each block must sign a petition in agreement. 

There are still a few remaining steps left in the permit process. After all written comments are received, the city engineer will decide to approve, conditionally approve or disapprove the application for the development. 

Then, anyone who requested a copy of the action in writing will be notified of the city engineer’s action.

All appeals regarding coastal issues can then be filed within ten days of the mailing of the decision. These appeals must be written and an official appeal form must be filed within five days. After the appeals are heard the Board of Public Works will make their decision within 30 days of filing. 

After this a Notice of Permit Issuance or Denial is sent to the executive director of the regional California Coastal Commission, as well as anyone else who was written a request for the notice.

If it is approved, the city permit will not be issued until 20 working days after the date of the Notice of Permit Issuance. Within these 20 days appeals can still be made by or to the Coastal Commission. 

If a permit is issued by the city engineer, the project can proceed.

Each residential household is allowed three permits at the rate of $15 each for 12 months. According to a document available at the hearing, there is a chance that they will increase to $34 in the near future. Two visitor permits are also allowed per household and those are $10 each, with the possibility of increase to $22.50 each.

In the Oxford Triangle alone the estimated cost to install parking restriction signs in the area is $10,000.

Meyer, who ran the meeting, called citizens up in the order that the comment cards were filled out in and allowed them each two minutes to speak. 

However, some residents yelled their comments from their seats; saying things such as “you can’t make it so that only people with money can park” and “more parking structures, not less parking.”

There were about 76 individuals who stood in front of their neighbors, friends, coworkers and family members to share their comments. Of those 76 only about a dozen or so were in favor of the overnight parking districts.

“We don’t need a band aid on a flesh wound,” Molly Eastliang said. “And that is what’s going on here.”

Speakers ranged from rich to poor, young to old and homeless to those with a home. However, when most people spoke, it was not about themselves and how permit parking would affect them, instead their concerns were about the community as a whole.

“It is great to see how many people are on our side [opposed] about OPDs,” Shireene Zahedi said. 

Written comments were accepted through June 27. If there are any questions on overnight parking please call 213-473-7890.

The Bureau of Engineering will post the final staff report by mid-July, under the title “Venice Overnight Parking Districts,” this will be available at: http://eng.lacity.org/techdocs/emg/Environmental_ Review_Documents.htm.