City Reinstates Ban on Overnight Car Dwelling

By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter

“Van Life is Not a Crime,” displays a bumper sticker in nearby Venice.

Well, according to the LA City Council vote, as of July 30, it is in many areas of Pacific Palisades and the greater Los Angeles area.

A truck parked on PCH
Rich Schmitt/Staff Photographer

A renewed city ordinance states that people can no longer dwell in their vehicles between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. on residential streets, or within a block of a park, licensed school, preschool or daycare facility.

Last Tuesday, City Council voted unanimously, 13-0, to reinstate Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 85.02, which limits where people can live in their vehicles. There had been a reprieve on the ruling since July 1, 2019, when the LA regulations previously expired.

The “temporary” ban has been renewed again.

“It’s been three years now,” Erika Feresten, who attended the vote, told the Palisadian-Post. “That’s not temporary.”

The existing city law was adopted in November 2016, and the current ban is set to expire January 1, 2020, unless renewed again.

Councilmember Mike Bonin echoed this statement. In his public comment sent to the Post, Bonin acknowledged the ordinance was meant to be “a temporary measure with a sunset provision, outlining where people could reside in their vehicles and where they couldn’t, while the city crafted a safe parking program.”

Bonin’s statement continued, “We have repeatedly extended the sunset, while the city and LAHSA have lagged in creating safe parking for the thousands of people living in their cars.”

There are more than 9,000 people across the city of Los Angeles who are living in their vehicles, according to the 2019 Homeless Count. There are currently 180 safe parking spaces, with a few hundred anticipated to be added in the next year, according to a representative from Safe Parking LA.

“We need to be moving people out of homelessness—not into homelessness,” Bonin said, pointing out that people winding up on the streets is not a better solution. Bonin was unable to attend the vote due to a medical issue and said he would have voted against it.

Despite the many people attending opposed to the vote, there was less than an hour for public comment and no discussion afterward, causing an outcry of chants and protests before City Council President Pro Term Nury Martinez directed LAPD to remove protestors.

Feresten, speaking on her own behalf and not as a representative of any political organization, told the Post, “Those against the vote had an intimidating decision, to be arrested or quietly leave.”

Violators of this ordinance are punishable by fines up to $25 for the first infraction and not to exceed $50 for the second or more than $75 for the third.