Residents of Venice were one step closer this week to getting long-sought-after overnight parking districts after a deal was reached between the Venice Stakeholders Association, the California Coastal Commission and the city of Los Angeles, the VSA announced. The move could change the character of the seaside neighborhood, one of the last in Southern California with unrestricted overnight parking.

The deal will implement a six-month testing period of a ban on oversize vehicle parking overnight to determine if that would deal with the problem of people essentially living in RVs on the streets of the beachside community. If the oversize-vehicle ban, which would prohibit trucks, vans buses and RVs taller than 7 feet from 2 to 6 a.m., doesn't work, residents can request to implement resident-only overnight parking on their blocks, according to Mark Ryavec, president of the association.

The Coastal Commission, which had previously opposed resident-only overnight parking in Venice over concerns about coastal access, required residents to test out the oversize-vehicle ban to see if it worked before moving to the more restrictive, late-night parking restrictions, which would ban those without permits from parking from 2 to 6 a.m. (further inland) or 2 to 5 a.m. (coastal neighborhoods). The nearby neighborhood of Del Rey would also be covered.

Residents who want to limit overnight parking will have to have “No Oversize Vehicle” signs in their neighborhoods for six months before the next step of requesting overnight parking districts from the city can move forward. They need two-thirds of the residents on any given block to sign petitions approving the restrictions.

The deal required some city lots to be open to RVs overnight so that those residents would not have their coastal access restricted as a result of parking issues. For example RV owners can purchase 12 hours of parking at the city lot at Pacific Avenue and Venice Boulevard, but the number of spaces is limited.

The Coastal Commission is allowing the parking experiment to last five years, but the restrictions can be renewed at the end of that period, according to a summary of the deal.

Not all residents wanted overnight parking districts. Some have complained that the hippy lifestyle represented by some RV dwellers is a integral part of Venice's cultural heritage and that the complaints are coming from newer, more moneyed residents.

Other Venice locals, however, complain that the campers are often homeless people with mobile digs who bring drugs, crime and unsanitary conditions with them.

LA Weekly