Overnight Parking Districts

Venice Stakeholder OPD Pain in the Ass

By Peggy Lee Kennedy

The California Coastal Commission denied Overnight Parking Districts (OPDs) in June 2009 and again in June 2010. The stated reasons for the June 2010 OPD denial by the Commissioners, the ones written in the Coastal Commission decision findings, were how the City can put in the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance without a Coastal Permit and it would solve the perceived problem (homeless people living in RVs) without causing as many problems for some residents (the people living on walk streets near the beach and near Lincoln who do not have street parking and who would be negatively affected by the OPDs).

After the June 2010 Coastal Commission’s denial of Venice OPDs:

1) Councilman Rosendahl’s office (Council District 11) applied the Oversized Vehicle Ordinance widely in Venice.

2) The LAPD formed a special Venice task force that arrested/towed/terrorized RV dwellers out of Venice.

3) The much publicized and anticipated Vehicle to Homes program never (ever) supplied one parking space in Venice for the displaced Venice vehicle dwellers.

4) A federal lawsuit (Desertrain v. City of Los Angeles) was filed regarding the civil rights violations incurred by the LAPD upon Venice Vehicle Dwellers during the intense RV removal efforts by the City. The Desertrain case is currently in the 9th Circuit court of appeals.

5) The Venice Stakeholder Ass. filed another lawsuit for OPDs, with which we are now dealing.

The City has resolved, harshly and unconstitutionally, issues with Vehicle dwellers in Venice.  It should not now be trying to present a settlement agreement for the Venice Stakeholder Ass. lawsuit that includes Venice OPDs.  The entire intent of OPDs in Venice is to remove Vehicle dwellers, because they are unable to purchase a permit to park on a public street between 2-6am.  The Commission agreed to Oversized Vehicle Ordinance as the solution. Feel free to see the decision findings at: http://bit.ly/ZVfVA5.

Furthermore, complaints have been repeatedly submitted to the Coastal Commission regarding the city of Los Angeles violating the Coastal Act by closing the beach without the required Coastal Development Permit, and also removing free street parking in the Venice Coastal Zone, effectively removing beach access. This especially affects low income people wanting to visit the coast.

The removed free parking complaint refers to an extraordinary amount of street parking (miles of possible free beach parking for low income inner-city people) which the City has placed restrictive parking signs on – without even considering a Coastal Permit or providing replacement parking.

1) This is a violation of Coastal Act Section 30210 (In carrying out the requirement of Section 4 of Article X of the California Constitution, maximum access, which shall be conspicuously posted, and recreational opportunities shall be provided for all the people consistent with public safety needs and the need to protect public rights, rights of private property owners, and natural resource areas from overuse. Amended by Ch.1075, Stats.1978.) and Section 30211 (Development shall not interfere with the public’s right of access to the sea where acquired through use or legislative authorization, including, but not limited to, the use of dry sand and rocky coastal beaches to the first line of terrestrial vegetation).

2) This also violates the Venice Coastal Land Use Plan. The city of Los Angeles signed the Venice Coastal Land Use Plan in 2001, which agrees to replace parking on a one-to-one basis. But the city has only ignored this contract by continually removing parking in the Venice Coastal Zone, while restricting any extremely meager new parking through parking meters or time limits.

Rosendahl and the Venice Stakeholder Ass. consistently claim that OPDs are some kind of a “civil right.” They say that because other surrounding beach areas have permit parking in Coastal Zones, then so should Venice! First, permit parking is not in our Bill of Rights and, secondly, the fact that so many coastal communities have permit parking should be an extremely compelling reason to not allow any further permit parking that restricts or eliminates street parking – until there is a study of the “cumulative effects” that permit and restrictive parking has had on low income people regarding access to the California Coastal Zones.

Without knowing the cumulative consequences of so much restricted parking in the Coastal Zone, the Coastal Commission cannot know how all these years of patch work mitigations and unenforced blatant violations of the Coastal Act (restricting public access to the coast) has cumulated into. Recent CEQA court findings have leaned in favor of requiring an assessment of the cumulative effects of development. Unfortunately, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation rubber stamps each and every permit parking saying that CEQA does not apply.

But CEQA does apply in this case, and an assessment study should be conducted prior to the approval of any more permit parking, specifically in a Coastal Zone. The fact is that the city of Los Angeles has violated Environmental Impact Study requirements with every permit parking ordinance it approves by not addressing the cumulative effects.  And each so-called temporary permit parking (temporary to avoid recognition of environmental effects) is simply re-approved over and over by the city.

Besides, why is the Coastal Commission rewarding a Coastal Act violator (the City of Los Angeles) with a Coastal Permit? Also because the current OPD (Venice Stakeholder Ass) proposed settlement is based on a lawsuit, the community has been excluded from any real input regarding OPDs. Keep in mind that this is a Coastal Zone development project denied by the Coastal Commission two years in a row with packed meetings filled with public members completely opposed to OPDs in Venice – each time.

So people get ready, we need you again! This OPD lawsuit settlement is supposed to be heard at the June 2013 Coastal Commission meeting in Long Beach. We will have sample letters and updates posted at www.justice.wetnostril.net and if you want, email humanrights@freevenice.org asking to be added on the list for email updates. Venice needs you again to show up and to write letters to the Coastal Commission.