Venice votes to restrict overnight RV parking

The overnight parking of vehicles like these, along 7th Street, has divided Venice residents.
The overnight parking of vehicles like these, along 7th Street, has divided Venice residents.
(Ricardo DeAratanha, Los Angeles Times)

A plan to restrict overnight parking won the strong support of Venice residents in a nonbinding election over the weekend. The plan still needs approval from the California Coastal Commission, which is expected to take it up in June.

Fed up with homeless people who live in cars and battered recreational vehicles parked along residential streets, many Venetians have for more than a decade urged the city of Los Angeles to create overnight parking districts that would limit parking in their neighborhoods.

On Saturday, more than 1,500 people -- a record turnout for a Venice Neighborhood Council election -- cast ballots on two competing nonbinding initiatives. The first, Initiative A, called on the neighborhood council to rescind its prior approval of overnight parking districts. That measure, backed by advocates seeking to protect the rights of those living in the RVs, failed 868 to 634.

The second, Initiative B, affirmed that Venice residents have the right to establish such districts. That measure passed 891 to 608.

The vote results were released Sunday on the neighborhood council’s website.

The Los Angeles City Council has approved the parking restrictions, which had the strong support of local Councilman Bill Rosendahl, but the matter is far from over.

A few residents have appealed to the California Coastal Commission, which has jurisdiction over the areas of Venice closest to the beach. The commission indicated that it wants to take a closer look at overnight parking districts and their implications.

Because the commission is charged with maintaining the public’s access to the coast, it wants to be sure there is enough early morning parking to accommodate fishermen, joggers, surfers and others.

“The first petitions for [parking districts] were signed in the community 12 years ago, and it’s clear one can’t wait to find a solution to where to put these RV dwellers,” said Mark Ryavec, co-chairman of the neighborhood council’s Homelessness and Vehicular Occupation Ad Hoc Committee.

That panel has been scouring the region for sites where groups of RVs can park.

“It’s a difficult challenge,” he added. “I’m encouraged by the vote and am cautiously optimistic that eventually the community will be able to improve their quality of life.”