Santa Monica residents push city council to rein in outdoors fitness classes
The Santa Monica City Council is considering charging annual fees for exercise classes held on the city’s parks and beaches following an increase in noise and damage complaints.
According to the Associated Press, the city is considering a proposal that would require fitness trainers running their classes on city grounds pay a $100 fee and 15 percent of their gross revenues. Classes may also be limited to no more than two students per trainer, unless instructors working in larger venues provide proof of insurance on top of paying the fees.
“Some people have also expressed concerns about people operating a business on city land and putting the city at risk of liability because they aren’t carrying insurance,” said Karen Ginsberg, director of the city’s community and cultural services department.
The issue has been pushed back until March, but in the meantime, Ginsberg said, the city will consider how to regulate the use of weight machines and other types of equipment outdoors.
Among the complaints is that the proliferation of exercise courses at places like Palisades Park is that the grass and benches are damaged by weights or other equipment being tied to them, forcing runners or passers-by to navigate an ad-hoc obstacle course.
“It’s starting to look like a 24-Hour Fitness gym out there,” said former Olympic runner Johnny Gray, who regularly goes on runs in the area.
But some trainers have responded that while they don’t pay rent for teaching outdoors, they already pay the city for the proper permits and licensing to operate their businesses, on top of their own insurance and CPR certification fees.
“I could easily go back indoors but that’s what I wanted to get away from,” said boxing and fitness trainer Ruben Lawrence. “I wanted to provide these programs to the masses at affordable rates to the community in a place people enjoy.”
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