September 23, 2020 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Fire Breaks out at Penmar Homeless Encampment

Fire breaks out early Monday morning

By Sam Catanzaro

A fire broke out at a homeless encampment on Rose Avenue next to Penmar Golf Course Monday morning.

According to the Los Angels Fire Department (LAFD), the fire was reported around 6 a.m. Monday on the 900 block of Rose Avenue. The Department says a single unit arrived on the scene and was able to put out the fire.

The LAFD is investigating the cause of a fire, according to Councilmember Mike Bonin. Anyone with any information on who started the fire is encouraged to call 213-893-9800.

The encampment where the fire took place has been the location of multiple fires over the past year.

These fires and other impacts from the encampment have been a source of frustration for nearby residents, including a property owner who told Yo! Venice in the video below that the she worries the encampment has lowered the value of her property.

This spring a petition was started by the Rose Penmar Parkway Beautification Association–a coalition of nearby residents–calling on the City to transfer the jurisdiction of the public walking path to the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department. Petition supporters say it will become illegal to camp once Recreation and Parks take over the land.

“Once the strip of land’s jurisdiction is changed, it becomes park land and illegal to camp upon,” reads the petition. “Once the land is granted back to the Department of Recreation and Parks, we will then have an opportunity to pursue multiple means to beautify and improve the strip of land so that it can best serve our community.”

Bonin, however, when asked if he would support transferring the jurisdiction, expressed preferences for other alternatives.

“We’re not sure it actually would do what folks think it would do. It may, in fact, be that part of that land–the strip of land on the walk path just outside Penmar Golf Course–part of it is actually Recreation and Parks land already, so we are trying to determine what is Rec and Parks and what is Public Works, but simply switching jurisdiction probably does not get the magic result that people are anticipating,” Bonin told Yo! Venice in an interview. “If Recreation and Parks owns the underlying land, then it is an easy process. If part of it was deeded as a result of the Ballona land grants 300 years ago then that’s a more exhaustive process.”

Instead, as laid out in motion currently in Los Angeles City Council’s Ad Hoc Committee on COVID-19 Recovery and Neighborhood Investment, Bonin is calling for a Rapid Results Encampment to Home pilot program for the Rose-Penmar area. The motion would also use various City tools such as Project Roomkey to provide alternatives to the encampment.

Editor’s note: a previous version of this article stated the cause of the fire was not under investigation. This article has been updated to reflect the launch of an investigation into the cause of the fire by the LAFD.

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