h1

Residents and RV Owners Clash in Venice

April 16, 2009

Venice residents tired of Recreational Vehicles and converted vans lining their streets and increasing crime might soon see some progress on the issue, depending on the results of an upcoming California Coastal Commission vote.

For years…

…people living in RVs and old converted vans have parked in Venice around homes and businesses, sometimes frustrating locals who complain that the transient population leave litter on the streets and is an eyesore.  Venice residents recently had a chance to vote on a neighborhood council proposal about the RVs and establishing permit-only overnight parking. And while the vote attracted record turnout, the California Coastal Commission will have ultimate say on the issue when a vote is taken in June.

“Until you’ve lived with this stuff right in front of your house, [from] when you walk out of your house and got this right in front of you day after day, you have no concept of what it is [like],” said Stuart Oscars, a Venice resident since 1995.

Oscars, a local activist who serves on two sub-committees within the Venice Neighborhood Council, said he witnessed drug use and theft when RVs parked in front of his house before his street established stricter parking regulations.  It took years to make that happen, Oscars said, and might take even more time to resolve the issue on a more widespread level.

Everyone thought this would be a quick fix,” he said.

Estimates of RVs in Venice vary from 100 to 300, depending on season.  Some contend the troublemaking RV owners are in the minority.

RVs in Venice -- Photo by Zach Gale

RVs in Venice -- Photo by Zach Gale

“There are some people here that abuse this,” said Anthony Lamonea, who lives in his RV in Venice.  “They throw their trash everywhere, but there’s a big percentage of us that watch people and say ‘Hey man, you’re making it hard for us.’”

Officer Theresa Skinner of the Venice Police Department specializes in the Oakwood area of the city and says 80 percent of her calls are about people living in RVs and converted vans.

“We have had several instances of prostitution and narcotic use, finding paraphernalia laying around [and] condoms. … You come here, you stay here from street sweep day to street sweep day,” Skinner said, as if speaking to an RV owner, “there’s trash all over, the generator’s running all night, they hear your radio … if you moved every two days and went to another place where you weren’t congregating, nobody would even notice they were there.”

Even so, Skinner does not think homeowners realize there are many respectable RV owners on the streets.  Lamonea maintains that most RV owners are good neighbors to Venice homeowners and businesses.

“Actually, we’re security for most of those people.  If we see any activity going on, to keep the heat off us, we’ll confront some moron [who’s] trying to do harm,” Lamonea said.

Finding an affordable alternate place for these RV owners to go at night has been a problem.

Some RVs on streets of Venice -- Photo by Zach Gale

Some RVs on streets of Venice -- Photo by Zach Gale

“Where do you find this limited space in an ocean beach area?  We’re working on it,” said Los Angeles Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

One option is the Dockweiler Beach RV Park, which currently has space for 117 RVs and is a 15-minute drive from Venice.  Unlike the free and generally unrestricted parking in Venice, however, the park charges at least $34 a night per RV until May 23, when the cheapest summer rate will be $41 a night per RV.

Other parking lots near the RV park could serve as the future site of a free overnight lot for RV parking if Skinner’s proposal is accepted.  She thinks the beach lots at Dockweiler Beach – across the street from a public waste facility – would be the perfect place to start a pilot program.

“Let’s try it for 6 months.  Let’s see how they police themselves—are they going to pick up their trash, are they going to pick up their urine, let’s see how it works,” Skinner said.

Alternatively, Rosendahl said his district is considering the application of a program modeled after rehabilitation programs successfully employed in areas with a high RV concentration like Santa Barbara, Calif., and Eugene, Ore.  The Eugene program allows RVs to park in private parking lots, but the vehicle owners “must prove they have a plan and want to improve their lives,” Oscars said.

If the California Coastal Commission votes that Venice residents can establish permitted parking zones, RV owners would have to find another place outside the city to park overnight.  A “Yes” vote would then leave the decision to establish overnight parking zones up to each Venice city block.

“Hopefully the Coastal Commission will give us the approval to go forward, then we’ll deal with it block-by-block,” Rosendahl said.

This multi-step process is set in place because of what Rosendahl calls “dual jurisdiction issues.”  Introducing permitted parking in most of Venice might restrict beach access, something that goes against the California Coastal Commission’s permanent responsibilities.

Advertisements

2 comments

  1. […] Local homeowners have been complaining for years that the numerous RVs and converted vans on the street take up valuable parking space and add to crime. For a full article on this story plus photos and a video, click here. […]


  2. […] Or, hear from multiple sides of the issue in this Joy in the Journey video and accompanying story. […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: