Beach parking fee increase now on hold

Photo by Charles M. Kelly

Editor’s note: In the print edition of this week’s Sun, the front page continuation line at the bottom of this story directed readers to page 31. It actually continued on page 3. We regret the error.

The Coastal Commission is requiring Seal Beach to apply for a permit to raise beach parking fees, according to Finance Director Victoria Beatley. In related news, Associate Engineer David Spitz told the City Council this week that the permits to repair the pier could be on the Coastal Commission agenda sooner than expected.

As for the pier, Spitz said Coastal Commission staff has deemed the pier repair project permit application complete.

He said Coastal staff was hoping the pier would be on the commission’s August agenda. If not August, the pier project would be on the September agenda.

“If everything works out, we could potentially be in construction this winter,” Spitz said

As for beach parking fees, they were scheduled to increase on July 5. But Beatley told the Sun that a Coastal Commission staff member phoned her two days after the council approved the 2017-18 budget to inform her that the city would need a coastal development fee to increase the cost of beach parking.

She said a second CCC official called her around June 30. Both told Beatley that Seal Beach would need a coastal development permit to raise beach parking fees.

A Seal Beach resident apparently told the state commission about the 80 percent parking increase.

Beatley said by her rough estimate, this was costing Seal Beach $2,000 a day.  She pointed out is the time of year when the city gets its highest revenue from beach parking fees. Asked if that would put Seal Beach’s tight budget in a deficit, Beatley said, “That’s an interesting question, because just from a mathematical standpoint, the $11,000 is gone.”

But she also said that, actually, the city won’t know the financial impact on the budget until the end of the year. The $11,000 Beatley referred to is the projected surplus that city staff had expected at the end of the current financial year.

She said it was too early to tell.

Beatley said the loss of the beach revenue was likely to cause the General Fund to support the Marine Safety (Lifeguard) Department.


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