Venice Stakeholders Association Oppose Proposed LAMC 85.11

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From The Venice Stakeholders Association:

Please Oppose Rosendahl’s New Ordinance that Welcomes RVs and Campers Back to Venice Streets and Opens Venice Parking Lots to RV Encampments

NO 85.11

Councilman Rosendahl has introduced a new ordinance that will gut the City’s ban on lodging in vehicles and will open up streets and City parking lots in Venice and throughout CD 11 for RVs and campers.

His new ordinance, LAMC 85.11, will be considered by the City Council’s Transportation Committee at 2 PM on Wednesday, March 23rd in City Hall.

The details are below.

Please take the following actions:

1. Forward an email to Bill Rosendahl telling him you oppose LAMC 85.11. Here’s a draft:

Dear Councilman Rosendahl:

Please withdraw your proposed ordinance to legalize lodging in vehicles on City streets and on City parking lots within 50 feet of residents in your Council District.

The social service agency (PATH) retained to provide services to those living in their vehicles already has plenty of housing vouchers to help these folks pay for housing, so they can segue directly from the street to apartments.

PATH has stated they do not need either street locations or parking lots in Venice for the program to be successful; they say that ten spaces at your West Los Angeles and Westchester offices will be adequate for short-term parking for program participants while they wait for paperwork to be processed.

Further, LAPD senior lead officers are opposed to legalizing any locations west of Lincoln Boulevard for the Roadmap to Homes program because it would invite a return to a beach lifestyle of partying, alcohol use, drug sales and drug use by program participants (despite any program rules to the contrary).

Please do not reverse the accomplishments of the LAPD, which has worked tirelessly to remove over 200 RVs and campers from our neighborhood and restore parking to residents.

Please place this letter in the official council file on 85.11.

Thank you for considering my views on this important matter.

Sincerely,

Send your email to:

Billrosendahl@aol.com, Arturo.Pina@lacity.org, Paul.Backstrom@lacity.org, margaret.hash@lacity.org, John.White@lacity.org

2. Attend the City Council Transportation Committee hearing on 85.11 on Wednesday, March 23 at 2 PM in City Hall Room 1010. (For parking, call Rosendahl’s office at: 213 473 7011.)

3. Please go to venicestakeholdersassociation.org and make a contribution to the VSA to fund our attorney to develop our legal challenge to 85.11 and represent us on the 23rd.

More on 85.11:

This ordinance will blow a huge hole in 85.02, the City’s ban on living in vehicles that will potentially impact the quality of life of residents and businesses across CD 11. Here are the problems:

1. There is no reference in the ordinance to appointing authority. What official or what department makes the decision to allow vehicles to occupy a particular public parking lot or to use a street for this program? The Mayor? The Mayor’s Transportation Deputy Director Jim Bickhart, who is anti-OPDs/OVOs and pro RVs? Rosendahl? Mike Bonin, Rosendahl’s Chief of Staff, who is also pro-RVs?

2. Who does the public hold accountable when there is a problem with a site, such as increased crime, drug sales, a murder, an assault, late night noise or intimidation of residents?

3. What’s the process for public comment before a street segment or lot is chosen? (Hint: There is none in the ordinance.)

4. Why has the LAPD not been given veto power in the ordinance over parking lots or streets which in their opinion will promote or increase crime, drug sales, etc.?

5. What appeal rights do citizens have to remove a lot or street segment from the program if there are problems with the overnight use or a parking lot or block becomes a public nuisance (think of the 3rd Street and Rose Avenue transient encampments growing up around the RVs which are still camping out there despite the OVO signs)?

6. This ordinance will permit the streets alongside any public facility, such as libraries, schools, parks, Rec and Parks property, and DWP and Public Works facilities, etc., to be used unless the City posts them with the OVO signs. We have no indication that Rosendahl will put the OVO signage up along these properties, so they would be open for inclusion in the program. For example, this ordinance would permit people to live in their cars or campers along the Westminster dog park, the Farmers Market lot, Broadway School, Westminster Elementary School, Electric Avenue lots, etc. It will also allow placement of vehicles overnight in residential zones and in close proximity to residences alongside such facilities. As Supervisor Yaroslavsky put it, recreational vehicles belong in proper campgrounds, not on City streets.

7. This ordinance permits vehicles to be used for overnight lodging 50 feet from a residence. We have always advocated a 300 foot setback to avoid just moving nuisance vehicles from one residential location to another. This ordinance puts in play lots throughout Venice and CD 11. Locally it would open up the median lots between North and South Venice Boulevard, the Venice Library lot, possibly the parking lots at any public school, the public lot at Rose and Main, the Electric Avenue lots, etc. We do not believe that the lots (or street segments) can be monitored all night to the point that it will prevent the vehicle dwellers from disturbing residents with generators, loud arguments, fights and noise, public inebriation, or drug sales traffic (despite program rules to the contrary). There is also a strong negative affect on property values from having an RV park sited right next to your house.

8. The City Attorney is incorrect in its advice that the City Council can avoid any CEQA compliance, such as the preparation of an EIR, because the ordinance qualifies under one or both of two “categorical exemptions” from CEQA. One of these exemptions is for the “operation . . . or minor alteration of existing public . . . facilities . . . involving negligible or no expansion of use”; the other exemption is for “minor public . . . alterations in the condition of land.” Neither of these exemptions applies because the ordinance would authorize a dramatic expansion of the use of public streets and parking lots from transitory parking of unoccupied vehicles, to permanent private residential purposes throughout Council District 11, an area that is 64 square miles in size and home to over 274,000 people. Moreover, as has been documented for years in Venice, the permanent residential use would subject areas throughout CD-11 to litter, crime, sewage dumping and other negative environmental impacts.

9. The adoption of the ordinance requires a Coastal Development Permit from the California Coastal Commission, because it is a blanket approval of “development” throughout the portion of CD-11 (including Venice) that is located within the Coastal Zone, i.e., Venice and Playa del Rey. For purposes of the Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction, “development” includes “on land . . . the placement or erection of any solid material or structure” and a “change in the density or intensity of use of land.” The ordinance would authorize permanent private residences on public streets and parking lots throughout the Coastal Zone, thus approving both the placement of a permanent structure (an automobile) on the public street and a significant increase in the intensity of use of the public street, from the transitory parking of unoccupied vehicles to a permanent use for residential purposes.

We have already commissioned our attorney to start laying the groundwork for a lawsuit and to represent us at the hearing on 85.11. But we have to fund it. Please go to the VSA website at venicestakeholdersassociation.org and make a tax deductible contribution to the VSA legal fund.

Many thanks for your continuing support to improve the quality of life in Venice.

Mark Ryavec
President, Venice Stakeholders Association

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