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Some Los Angeles Beaches Could Be Open 24/7

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Venice Beach at night (Photo by spacelola via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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It might seem silly that a piece of land can be "closed" at midnight, but most city beaches have a curfew that was initially enforced to curb crime back in the 1980s. Those beach curfews could be relaxed—though we're not likely to have 24 hour access to Venice any time soon.

In recent years, crime has decreased alone the coast, prompting the California Coastal Commission to challenge the curfew. Specifically it has a problem with the ban that runs from midnight until 5 a.m. on Los Angeles' coast. This was put in effect in 1988 in an effort to subdue gang violence. Other cities near Los Angeles put a similar ban in effect for their beaches. Now L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer is negotiating with the Commission over these curfews and they're hoping to reach a compromise that still bars some beach access, the L.A. Times reports.

Feuer created an ordinance suggests designating a 10-foot-wide path along the shore accessible at night to foot traffic on both Dockweiler and Will Rogers beach parks, Curbed LA reports. The remaining portion of those beaches would still be under curfew, and Venice Beach would be excluded entirely because the City still believes Venice has lots of crime. In fact, the ordinance states that crime is up in Venice and Councilman Mike Bonin, who asked Feuer to craft the ordinance, feels like the curfew helps police combat it.

Some Venice residents disagree. They feel that the curfew denies them the opportunity to enjoys late nights on the beach, while also being used to keep the homeless from sleeping or hanging out there. This, they argue, only pushes the homeless back into residential neighborhoods.

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And if there's one thing Venice residents having been doing a lot of lately, it's complaining about the homeless. There have been numerous reports of transients breaking into homes, so much that a Venice neighborhood group is in the process of suing the City for failing to protect them. Venice residents also sued the Coastal Commission in 2009 for shutting down an ordinance that would have prevented people who lived in cars and RVs from parking overnight in Venice, saying the Commission did not have the authority to decide on this issue. Venice and Los Angeles eventually dropped this argument early last year when the Coastal Commission blocked the parking ban for the third time, according to Curbed LA.

Feuer's ordinance was submitted in fall but it went up before the Council's Arts, Parks, Health Aging and River Committee this Monday. The committee has delayed considering it for another month.