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Santa Monica to consider putting regulations on outdoor fitness classes at parks

April 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Outdoor fitness classes are popular in L.A. for those who want to take advantage of the weather and for trainers who want to use the free space.

But on Tuesday, the Santa Monica City Council will address a proposition to regulate the use of city parks for fitness activities.

Palisades Park in Santa Monica has become a haven for workout warriors. From early in the morning to late afternoon, exercise boot camps and other group fitness activities are prominent. But it's also a problem for some neighbors.

"I would be just thrilled not to have to wake up at 5:30 in the morning to a gym class across the street that I did not choose to attend," said one resident who did not want to be identified.

The Santa Monica Recreation & Parks Commission will make recommendations to the city council to address neighborhood concerns. One recommendation is a ban on group training at Palisades Park with more than two clients.

"It will be a shame. If they banned it, it's really going to affect lot of people and our livelihoods," said fitness trainer Chris Plourde.

"I understand there's been some complaints about noise, but you can tell right now, it's just peaceful. We're not yelling. There's no loud music. It's just a great vibe," said Wendy Kush of Santa Monica.

The commission also wants to place restrictions on what kind of exercise equipment can be used, but the biggest controversy is about money. The trainers, who are already required to pay for a business license, police permit and insurance, might soon have to pay 15 percent of their gross receipts quarterly.

"It's very different than a family coming for a picnic. A family coming for a picnic doesn't take the same blades of grass every day for the same amount of hours. We have trainers who literally have set up shop on the same spot for five to six hours a day. That is the reason for the percentage," said Phil BrocK, chair of the Santa Monica Recreation & Parks Commission.


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