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Snapchat is taking away resident parking in Venice, locals say

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The state coastal commission is investigating

The Venice Freakshow in 2011.
The Venice Freakshow in 2011.
Damian Gadal / Creative Commons

Snapchat and its parent company, Snap Inc., have not made many friends in Venice, the neighborhood where the company has been gobbling up space over the past couple of years. Locals have staged protests against the company outside its Ocean Front Walk headquarters, and the tension isn’t waning.

A resident group called Venice Dogz: An Alliance For The Preservation of Venice says Snapchat employees are using precious parking spaces that are supposed to be reserved for residents, says LA Weekly. The group has filed a complaint with the California Coastal Commission, the state regulatory agency that oversees land use and public access to the coast. Its enforcement division has opened an investigation into the matter.

The Weekly says that in 1981, the commission issued a permit to Venice Freakshow that allotted 41 parking spaces in an underground garage in the Freakshow’s building to be set aside for parking for Venice residents.

The Freakshow closed earlier this year, saying it was pushed out because Snap was moving in. The building is now managed by a company called Snapshot Partners, LLC, and activists say they believe that’s a shell company for Snap—a claim which the company denies.

Since around the time of the Freakshow’s closure, residents say they have been told that parking is not and will not be available—in one case, a resident was explicitly told that it was because Snapchat employees were using the parking.

Snap also denies it’s moving into the old Freakshow building, and it refutes that employees are using any parking in the building’s garage aside from the eight spots they lease from Snapshot.

Locals place most of the blame for the increasing priciness and the decreasing funkiness of the traditional bohemian neighborhood squarely on the company, which, they say, has basically transformed what was once a community into something that’s now basically a sprawling corporate campus.

In a move that is probably at least partially a response to the hostile response they’ve received in Venice, Snap has said that future expansion of the company will happen in Santa Monica, and not in Venice. Snap has already leased nearly 80,000 square feet at Santa Monica’s airport.