Camping overnight and pitching tents in Los Angeles city parks would be banned under a measure approved Tuesday by a City Council committee.
The rules recommended by the Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee were a reaction to Occupy L.A. protesters, who camped out for months on the City Hall lawn, causing extensive damage to the grass. The park remains closed and fenced-off.
The damage prompted the city to install a new sprinkler system and reseed the grass in the park.
Councilman Richard Alarcon said the new regulations are not in conflict with how the city dealt with Occupy L.A. participants, who received special permission to camp on the City Hall lawn.
The committee delayed action on setting new specific hours at the downtown park. The city wants to work in coordination with the county, which this summer will open its Civic Center park adjacent to City Hall.
The $56 million, 12-acre Grand Park will include gardens, groves and lawns - including a massive one in front of Los Angeles City Hall that can be used as a venue for outdoor concerts.
Bordered by Grand Avenue, Temple Street, First Street and City Hall, Grand Park is a component of the multibillion-dollar Grand Avenue Project, which includes a yet-to-be-completed museum and condominium towers near the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
The Music Center will handle all of the Grand Park's operations and programming for an initial period of three years. The park's hours of operation have yet to be determined.
Jon Mukri, general manager of the city Recreation and Parks Department, said his office is looking at the hours of operation for all parks and wants to develop a cohesive policy so law enforcement will know when someone is considered a trespasser.
"We are trying to clarify a public policy point of view," Mukri said, with clear rules on hours of operation and what is allowed.
Mukri said officials want to ban closed tents, but make sure the rules don't affect such uses as enclosed bounce houses put up for children.
"If we banned those, my 4-year-old daughter would be out picketing," Alarcon joked.
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