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City Council Nixes Proposed Parking Zone Near Venice Border

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

July 29, 2019 -- The latest bid to carve another preferential parking zone in Santa Monica failed last week after two City Council members recused themselves and a third was absent from the meeting.

That left four members at Tuesday's meeting to vote on whether to expand an existing zone around Lincoln Boulevard and the Venice border that has divided area neighbors ("Residents Torn Over Proposed Preferential Parking Zone," July 18, 2019).

Mayor Pro Tem Terry O'Day cast the sole dissenting vote, saying that parking in the area was "not in terribly high demand."

"I vote against these just by principle," O'Day said.

"I think that generally these parking permit districts are a privatization of public space that benefits homeowners over everybody else in the community."

The parking district was proposed after two-thirds of the residents of the two blocks adjacent to Lincoln Boulevard submitted qualifying petitions.

But neighbors were torn over the proposed zone that encompassed Ashland Avenue between Lincoln Boulevard and 11th Street and Pier Avenue between Lincoln Boulevard and 7th Street.

The Council received numerous letters and comments from both supporters and opponents of the district that expressed conflicting views aired by the four residents who testified before the Council.

Larry Gotz, who said he has lived in his home in the proposed zone for 38 years, told the Council he was "totally against" planning staff 's proposal to impose a two-hour parking limit between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily except by permit.

"I've always been able to park in front of my house," said Getz, who added that his 1929 property didn't have a garage to accommodate the two cars and one truck he always parks on the street.

Vincent Esparza said the proposed restrictions didn't go far enough.

"I beg you to put a stricter implementation 24/7," said Esparza. "I've lived there 24 years and it's getting worse and worse."

Susan Alinsausan said she often has to park a block and a half away from her home at night and walk back with her jell pepper spray.

"I rode here with a neighbor so I wouldn't lose my parking spot," Alinsausan said. "We are parking challenged."

Former Planning Commission chair Gwynne Pugh urged the Council to restrict parking only at night, saying surrounding parking zones were pushing cars into the proposed area.

"Everything is devolving to our neighborhood at this time," Pugh said.

Like other residents, Pugh worried that a new development going up at 2903 Lincoln Boulevard would make nighttime parking even harder to find ("Mixed-Use Project on Lincoln Will Have “Devastating” Impact, Neighbors Claim in Appeal," April 23, 2018).

The four-story mixed-use development on the east side of Lincoln includes 47 apartments, ground-floor businesses and a two-level underground garage for 151 vehicles and 98 bicycles.

O'Day said that, if anything, the building "has perhaps too much parking."

Council member Greg Morena made a motion to exclude the section of the proposed zone west of Lincoln Boulevard but the motion failed after Mayor Gleam Davis and Council member Ted Winterer recused themselves. Council member Kevin McKeown was absent.

Winterer said he lives in the home he owns in the proposed zone.

"As a matter of prudence, I am going to recuse myself from this item," he said.

Mayor Davis said she had looked at a home in the proposed zone that morning as "a potential purchase."

"I've not put in an offer," Davis said. "Out of an abundance of caution and to avoid any appearance of impropriety, I also am going to recuse myself."

Sue Himmelrich, who voted for the amended district, said, "I hate these preferential parking things."

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