Venice seeks to relocate RV dwellers

VENICE, Calif. Anthony Lamonela has been living out of his recreational vehicle in Venice for the past 14 months. The set painter moved here after last year's writers strike.

"I was looking at my RV and then I would look at my apartment and I'm going, 'Wait a minute, man, I'm paying registration on this thing, I might as well take advantage and try to get myself ahead,'" said Anthony Lamonela.

It's something many people have now been doing in these tough economic times. The number of RVs parked on Venice streets has gone up considerably over the last year and residents aren't too happy about public sidewalks being used as living rooms and bathrooms.

"I've seen people taking showers and actually using the restrooms right there," said Ahmad Clayton, who lives in an RV. "They'll wash at the water fountain right there."

"Some of the blocks are so impacted that local residents can't park their own cars in front of their own homes," said /*L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl*/.

Rosendahl is now helping to pass a new law prohibiting anyone but residents from parking overnight in Venice. He says RV owners will then be forced to move. The question is where?

"We have a city law that says you're not allowed to sleep in your camper or your car. It's ludicrous. People do, so I don't want to criminalize these folks," said Rosendahl.

The city is now trying to find industrial neighborhoods, church parking lots or even other sites like /*Dockweiler Beach*/ to turn into designated RV parking areas.

"I'd like to go to a place where there's a safe haven, nobody bothers you, nobody knocks on your door, like the police," said Louie Garcia, who lives in an RV.

The city says they're now working on choosing the right space, something that will keep Venice residents and the city's growing homeless population happy.

City officials say if approved, overnight parking restrictions for RVs in Venice will take effect in about six months, which means the owners of these vehicles will have to move to new designated parking areas soon after.


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