Q: The Daily Press wrote an article this past weekend regarding oversized vehicles, and I would like to know the particulars, because there is an oversized van parked in front of our house. Can you please let me know to whom I can report this and where I can complain or get it ticketed? This particular van regularly parks in front of our house and it’s getting so frustrating.

A: Thank you for your question. I understand your frustration, and hopefully this will help alleviate some of it. Recently, the Santa Monica Police Department was unable to take any enforcement action on non-commercial, oversized vehicles parking in the city. This includes buses, trailer homes, moving trucks, etc. This caused a lot of frustration for some residents that wanted something done. What we are seeing are vehicles such as those being parked in front of houses or in areas that it did not necessarily belong to.

Sometimes the owners of the vehicles live in different areas or cities and leave their vehicles parked where there is space. Remember, that is not always the case, so please give us a call so we can determine if the owner of the trailer is one of your neighbors who is just parking their trailer temporarily.

Well the good news is the oversize vehicle/trailer restrictions were revised by City Hall back in April and are reflected in the municipal codes below. Part of the problem and the reason the law was not enforceable for some time was that there were no signs posted anywhere stating it was illegal to park an oversized vehicle in a residential neighborhood overnight. Per the City Attorney’s Office, signage at all entry points to the city was required before enforcement was to commence. The Transportation Management Department earlier this month began posting vehicle oversize restriction signs at all entry points into Santa Monica. After a two-week grace period, enforcement is now in effect.

These laws give the police department the authority to respond to a call of an oversize vehicle complaint and take enforcement action, whereas before there was nothing we could do unless the vehicle was violating a separate rule.

There are three municipal code sections that deal with oversized vehicles. The most important one is 3.12.860 SMMC (Overnight Parking of Trailers and Large Vehicles) that states between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. on any public street or alley in the city, no person shall park any hitched or unhitched trailer of any size, or any vehicle of which any part of the vehicle, together with all fixtures, accessories or property with the exception of single post radio antennas, measures more than 8 feet in width, or 8 feet in height, or 20 feet in length, unless such person shall have a permit for such trailer or vehicle.

Santa Monica Municipal Code 3.12.870 addresses the height and width restrictions. It states no person shall park any commercial vehicle on a public street or alley in a residential district, except in the event of an emergency or for the purposes of loading and unloading, in any part of the commercial vehicle, together with fixtures or property, measures more than 7 feet in width or 7 feet in height.

Santa Monica Municipal Code 3.12.880 addresses parking of trailers. It states that no person shall park any trailer on any public street or alley unless the trailer is attached to a vehicle capable of moving the trailer in a normal manner upon the street or alley. Of course this does not apply to trailers that are in the process of being loaded or unloaded.

To report a violation, you can call the Santa Monica Police Department’s non-emergency dispatch number at (310) 458-8491. You can also call the Traffic Service Office at (310) 458-8466. Oversize permits can be obtained at the Traffic Services Office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. till 6 p.m. Please note that per SMMC 3.12.900, non-commercial vehicles can obtain an oversized permit to park in a residential area. Remember, you do not have to be a resident to receive one of these permits. Anyone can get one.

Bike theft prevention tips

The SMPD continues to see a significant amount of bike thefts in Downtown, so we would like to remind everyone of a few tips to prevent them from becoming a victim of a bike theft.

• Cable locks are just too easy to cut. Always lock your frame with a high quality U-lock or a heavy chain and secure your wheels. Get rid of any U-lock with a round barrel key. These locks can be broken into easily by an experienced thief.

• Find an appropriate fixed object to lock your bike to. Don’t lock your bike to a pole or post that is loose in the ground or the bike can be lifted over.

• Write down your serial number and register your bicycle at the Santa Monica Police Department. This makes it possible for us to return your bike in the event it is stolen.

This column was prepared by NRO Scott McGee (Beat 5: Montana Avenue to north city limits, Ocean Avenue to 26th Street). He can be reached at (424) 200-0685 or scott.mcgee@smgov.net.

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