Venice Drive parking ban could be reconsidered by City Council |

Venice Drive parking ban could be reconsidered by City Council

Adam Jensen

Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune A truck with a boat trailer is parked illegally on Venice Drive on Monday, near a recently erected "No Parking" sign.

Poking out above several boat trailers and the occasional sport utility vehicle, bright red-and-white “No Parking” signs dotted the shoulders of Venice Drive east of Tahoe Keys Boulevard on Monday, and an electronic road sign near the intersection of the streets informed motorists of a “new parking code.”

But the apparent parking changes on Venice Drive could be short-lived if the South Lake Tahoe City Council accepts a recently developed proposal by property owners in the Tahoe Keys. The council will discuss the issue at its meeting today.

The council directed city staff June 17 to put up the “No Parking” signs but didn’t approve a resolution to actually change regulations along the street.

Meanwhile, a group of Tahoe Keys business and property owners submitted a letter to the city saying the new parking configuration could have “deleterious effects” to businesses, visitors and homeowners.

The letter, written by Land Planning consultant Jay Kniep, suggests a ban on boat trailers and overnight recreational vehicle parking along the road while allowing other vehicles to park along to-be-painted parking lanes on each side of Venice Drive.

Extended camping and boat trailers encroaching on the street’s bike lanes are among the problems identified by the city regarding parking on the street.

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The changes would be accomplished by a privately funded repainting of the street, which would include a bike lane, as well as a parking lane, on each side of the road, according to the letter.

Boat-trailer storage would be available in the California Tahoe Conservancy’s one-acre lot on the north side of Venice Drive, the letter said.

The plan has drawn support from the conservancy, and a licensing agreement for use of the lot could be authorized as soon as today, according to a letter to City Manager David Jinkens from Conservancy Program Manager Bruce Eisner.

The development of the plan may have been enough to cause some City Council members to rethink their earlier directive to staff.

“There is new information concerning the willingness of others to cooperate in the execution of a solution to the parking mess on Venice Boulevard,” Mayor Mike Weber wrote in an e-mail to council members and staff June 25.

Weber was part of the 5-0 vote June 17 directing city staff to install the “No Parking” signs but was critical of a decision to erect the signs in a June 25 e-mail to City Council members and city staff.

“Although I commend the City Manager for his swift execution, the legal reality is that until the council approves the exact wording of the resolution at the July 1 meeting, putting up signs is premature at worst and not really necessary at best,” Weber wrote in the e-mail. “I, for one, have not read the final wording of the resolution that you will be voting on.”

Weber noted in the e-mail that he won’t be able to attend today’s council meeting.

City Councilwoman Kathay Lovell said she still has concerns about allowing cars to park along the portion of Venice Drive in question but added she is excited about the potential use of the conservancy lot for boat trailers.

Lovell, a Tahoe Keys resident herself, said she has seen improvement in the parking situation since the signs were erected but would keep an open mind during council discussions today.

“I’m encouraged by the progress that was made so far, and I’m looking forward to the information that will be presented tomorrow,” Lovell said Monday.

The council will meet today starting at 9 a.m. in Council Chambers at the Lake Tahoe Airport.