LA enforcement returns in May for people living in vehicles
LOS ANGELES - Following a vote by the City Council Wednesday, parking enforcement of vehicle dwellings in violation of posted signage will resume on May 15 for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and parking enforcement for recreational vehicles deemed hazardous will begin immediately.
Enforcement and towing of vehicle dwellings was suspended in March 2020, when the city declared a local emergency, relaxing enforcement for all parking violations. The city resumed general enforcement in October 2020, but vehicles that officers believed were being used as dwellings were exempt.
According to the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, vehicle dwellings were exempt from enforcement so "the unhoused did not meet additional burdens during a health crisis." Officials added that the definition's broadness has led to abandoned vehicles not being impounded either.
In February, the department created criteria for distinguishing between abandoned vehicles suitable for towing and vehicles used as dwellings that warrant additional engagement.
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The City Council on Wednesday voted to approve LADOT's criteria, and Councilman Joe Buscaino added an amendment to have the department resume parking enforcement for all motor vehicles, including vehicle dwellings, that are in violation of posted signage on May 15.
Parking enforcement will resume immediately for oversized vehicles that fall under one of the following five categories:
- Those that present a traffic safety hazard, including blocking walkways, fire hydrants, driveways and traffic lanes;
- Those that pose an environmental or public health hazard, including those that have been "extensively destroyed, burned or present a threat to environmentally sensitive habitats;"
- Those that interfere with public works projects or special events;
- Those that are inoperable, such as vehicles that are disabled or missing an engine, windshield or tire; and
- Those that are unregistered.
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The motion as amended was passed 11-1, with only Councilwoman Nithya Raman dissenting. Councilmen Mike Bonin, Gil Cedillo and John Lee were absent.
Buscaino — who is running for mayor — released a statement after the vote saying that the city "must bring back common sense enforcement to remove dangerous RVs from our streets."
The motion passed Wednesday directs the city administrative officer's homelessness coordinator to develop a process in the next month for officers from LADOT and the Los Angeles Police Department to refer unhoused people to outreach services during contact related to the parking violations.
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