Overnight parking

RVs parked on 7th Street in Venice in 2009. Some activists have ended their years-long legal battle to restrict overnight parking in the city. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times / January 20, 2009)

Some Venice activists have ended their years-long legal battle to restrict overnight parking in the coastal community, which has struggled over how to deal with people living in campers and cars.

After Los Angeles Councilman Mike Bonin's office declined to support the restriction effort, an attorney representing the Venice Stakeholders Assn. said the group dropped a suit seeking "overnight parking districts" near the beach.

The case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2009, when the California Coastal Commission denied the city's application for restricted parking on the grounds that it would impede public access to Venice Beach between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. The city joined the Venice Stakeholders suit but withdrew last year after the coastal agency denied overnight parking districts for a third time.

Coastal commissioners heard testimony by advocates for the homeless and transients, as well as residents who objected to the prospect of having to pay for preferential parking permits.

Opponents of the proposed restrictions hailed the decision to drop the suit.

"This is a big victory for diversity and access," said Steve Clare of Venice Community Housing Corp. The districts "would have restricted visitors' access to the coastal community … by making it more costly and inconvenient for visitors — and residents — to park on public streets."

The city's decision to enforce rules against parking oversize vehicles overnight has helped calm concerns over noise, public inebriation, crime and litter resulting from RV dwellers.

"As far as just the issue of campers and RVs, I'd say it's been 85% effective," said Mark Ryavec, president of the Venice Stakeholders Assn. He added, however, that the city has failed to install signs noting the limit on oversize vehicles on some streets.

Bonin said Wednesday that "it is time to move on" from the battle over overnight parking districts. The most pressing problem for residents now is the crush of beach visitors and shoppers to Venice's bustling commercial areas.

Addressing that issue, Bonin said, will require a multi-pronged approach, including more public parking spaces as well as more shuttles and other transportation options. He said Venice also needs to devise, and get the Coastal Commission to certify, a so-called local coastal plan that would give the community more control over development and parking.

martha.groves@latimes.com