A Venice residents' group this week criticized a city program that aims to provide safe parking lots where at least some of the beach community's controversial RV dwellers could stay overnight.

Zeroing in on the “Streets to Homes” document that seeks proposals from nonprofit groups that wish to run the program, the Venice Stakeholders Association had a few bones to pick, including the request-for-proposal's exclusion of specific limits on how many rigs can be in one lot or how close the lots can be from residences.

The group is also concerned that the document does not indicate that the program would rule out the use of actual curb-side street parking as part of “Streets to Homes.”

“We have consistently opposed the use of any street segments for overnight parking as such use would perpetuate the current problems associated with urban camping in Venice and act as magnets for more vehicle dwellers,” the VSA states. ” … As we have seen, one of the noxious behaviors of some vehicle dwellers is the dumping of sewage on city streets. Use of streets by program participants would only allow such illegal dumping (and/or leaking) to continue … “

The letter also asks that the RFP, distributed by Westside Councilman Bill Rosendahl's office, include language that indicates the “primary objective of the program is relieving residents of Council District 11 of the burden they experience with people living in vehicles on their doorsteps.”

Rosendahl began implementing the program this summer as a way to relieve some of the tension over the “mobile homeless” and to provide the RV dwellers with a way to safely camp out while eventually hooking them up with permanent housing.

Venice's RV population, believed to be growing as a result of the economy, is a contentious issue in the beach-side community, with opponents fighting for overnight, permit parking that would shut them out and defenders running to the aid of folks they say are longtime and enfranchised members of the community.

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