Popular Hermosa Beach trainer asks council help in fending off parking enforcement, city responds [UPDATE]

Trainer Ty Renner packs up his gym in his 14th Street apartment parking spaces for possibly the last time. The city ordered him to close the gym because it violates the city’s parking code. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Kevin Cody

Trainer Ty Renner asked the Hermosa Beach City Council at its Tuesday night meeting for help in resolving his conflict with the city’s parking enforcement over his gym, Vibe Hermosa.

Renner told the council he started training clients in his two parking spaces in front of his 14th Street apartment in downtown Hermosa Beach when COVID prohibited indoor gathering.

Each morning for nearly three years, Renner set up step boxes, free weights, and jump ropes for the dozen clients who attended his classes. At the end of each day he stored the equipment in his  Jeep Wrangler

The workouts, which included running to the beach and back, were a welcome inspiration to residents and visitors. 

Last month, Renner said, a city code enforcement officer told him his use of his parking spaces for a business was illegal, despite the fact he has three parking spaces and only one car. Last week, Renner and his attorney met with Hermosa Community Development Director Carrie Tai. 

According to Renner, Tai said a gym on the patio below his apartment patio would be legal because the patio is contiguous with his building. But his gym on his two 14th Street parking spaces is illegal because the parking spaces are not contiguous with his building. 

He said he was told he would be cited if he set up the gym in his parking spaces the following morning.

“I had a Down Syndrome client the next morning whom I wasn’t going to cancel. But that was my last class.” Renner said 

Tai could not be reached for comment prior to press time.

Renner said the city action was in response to a complaint about his gym by a resident the city would not identify.

He presented the Council with 35 letters of support, and a petition signed by another 100 supporters.

Client Ryan Schonfeld, a former South Bay police officer, told the council, “In a small town like Hermosa it should not require hiring a lawyer to resolve a parking issue. When I work out at Ty’s, parking enforcement, residents, and police passing by all greet him by name.”

Schonfeld’s wife Sharron told the council, “Ty’s built more than a gym. He’s built a community of people from all walks of life. It’s a no frills operation a block from the ocean. It’s part of what gives Hermosa its charm. I ask you to work with him to preserve this amazing business.”

Following the public comments, Councilman Rob Saemann said when he was on the planning commission, “We worked hard on the home occupation rules…. One size doesn’t fit all. There should be some discretion allowed.

Mayor Raymond Jackson, who spoke with Renner and his clients during a class two weeks ago, asked the city staff to present its side of the dispute.

The request prompted City Attorney Patrick Donegan to caution the council against discussing a specific code enforcement issue that had not been formally presented for discussion.

“An individual who has been cited can appeal the citation to the city council. But there has been no citation,” Donegan noted.

Saeman responded by introducing a motion asking staff to report back with a code provision for enforcement exceptions that would be applicable to all home businesses.

City Manager Suja Lowenthal said staff would not be able to respond to the request until August because of the Community Development’s need to focus on completion of the housing element to the general plan.

“August. Really,” Mayor Jackson commented. “I’d ask staff to get it to us as quickly as possible. It’s beneficial to all to get this resolved before August.”   

Parking reprieve for Morning exercisers 

Residents who addressed the city council Tuesday night about early enforcement of downtown parking received a positive response from the majority of councilmembers.

An ordinance before the council called for moving up downtown parking meter enforcement to 8 a.m. Parking enforcement elsewhere in the city begins at 10 a.m.

Last month, city staff told the council that the earlier enforcement at the downtown’s 978 meters would generate an additional $800,00 annually. But under questioning by Councilmember Dean Francois, city treasurer Viki Copeland said the estimate had been revised downwards to $150,000 annually.

Residents argued the earlier enforcement would discourage the many Strand strollers, sand and Strand runners, bicyclists, surfers, and volleyball players who park downtown and visit local restaurants and coffee houses following their exercise.

Redondo Union High assistant surf coach Frank Paine said the early enforcement would interfere with high school surf competitions.

When the earlier enforcement was approved last month, Councilmembers Mike Detoy and Dean Francois opposed the change. Mayor Jackson and Councilmember Justin Masey support the earlier enforcement. At that meeting, Councilmember Rob Saemann cast the deciding vote in favor of the change. But Tuesday night, Saemann cast the deciding vote opposing the change because, he said, it was inconsistent with the 10 a.m. enforcement elsewhere in the city. ER  

Editor’s note:
The following response to Easy Reader’s story about trainer Ty Renner (above) was submitted to Easy Reader following publication of the story.

Dear ER:

In response to your story about a Council decision, the City Council did not vote on the Vibe Hermosa matter (“Popular activities go one for two before council,” ER May 11, 2023). It was not on the agenda and the Council is not able to take action on public comments on matters not otherwise listed on the agenda. The City Council did add a future agenda item requesting that staff provide an informational item on the topic of home occupations.

In response to your inquiries about the business: We recognize that Vibe Hermosa is an important resource that has touched the lives of many in our community, and City staff remains willing to work with the business owner to identify alternative solutions for the business that are consistent with City regulations. 

It is important to note that Vibe Hermosa operated in violation of City Municipal Codes. In addition to operating without a local business license (Code 5.04.202: License required), the business also operated without the required provision or maintenance of off-street parking spots (Code 17.44.050: Unlawful to reduce available parking), effectively taking up local parking spaces that otherwise could be used by the public. 

After the business owner was notified of these violations, the owner applied for business home occupation and was informed that the business was not eligible. Specifically, the business did not meet criteria for a home occupation. Some of the criteria for home occupations are as follows:

  1. Such occupation shall be carried on only by occupants of a dwelling, and shall involve the use of not more than four hundred (400) square feet, not to exceed twenty-five (25) percent of the total area of the permitted buildings on the premises.
  2. No display of any kind shall be visible from the exterior of the premises.
  3. No foot or vehicle traffic may be generated to or from the premises except for traditional uses such as tutors and day care centers as approved by the planning director.

Staff has discussed several potential solutions with the business owner that would allow the business to be permitted while preserving local parking and licensing requirements, including applying to convert the property for commercial use, securing a location in a commercial building or operating the business on public spaces including the beach and parks. We hope that we can work collaboratively with the business owner to support Vibe Hermosa’s ongoing success while remaining consistent with City regulations and ensuring adequate parking for the public. ER

Suja Lowenthal
City manager
City of Hermosa Beach


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