CCC to look at city’s beach parking fees

Coastal Commission staff report alleges Coastal Act violations

The city government wants to amend the parking hours and rates for the First Street beach parking lot. The California Coastal Commission is scheduled to look at the request to amend the city’s coastal development permit on Wednesday, Dec. 15. The staff report recommends approving the city’s request if existing special conditions for approval are met.

However, according to the Dec. 15 agenda, “The Commission’s enforcement division has opened an investigation into potential Coastal Act violations associated with this item and site, as is explained further in the staff report.”

The alleged Coastal Act violations specifically cited in the report included increasing parking fees before submitting an application to the Coastal Commission and installing a parking station. (See below.)

“Though I wasn’t aware of some of the specifics of recent discussions with the Coastal Commission, I do know that our Staff has been engaged with Commission staff regarding several issues and projects within the City’s Coastal Zone, and that the operating hours of the First St. beach parking lot is one of them,” wrote District One Councilman/Mayor Joe Kalmick in a Nov. 28 email.

“I’m sure that as issues are resolved, Staff will update myself and the other members of the Council. Just keep in mind that the Coastal Commission’s sense of urgency is often different than ours,” Kalmick wrote.

Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos wrote: “The City continues to work very closely with Coastal staff on a number of coastal projects and permits. With respect to this particular matter, City staff looks forward to discussing this item with Coastal and providing any and all information they need to satisfy this inquiry.”

According to the Coastal Commission staff report, the city proposes changing the parking fee hours to 6 a.m.-10 p.m. (adding an hour); changing the rate to $2 an hour with a maximum of $10 a day, increasing the all-day fee to $10 and establishing a flat fee of $4 after 6 p.m.

“Associated with the amended parking fee collection hours, staff recommends the Commission amend Special Condition No. 5 to require the applicant to submit two copies of a Revised Final Signage Program making it clear that the parking lot is always open, but that fees are collected between the hours of 6am to 10pm,” according to the CCC staff report.

“Violations of the Coastal Act have occurred on the project site, including but not limited to the increase in parking rates which has already taken place prior to the submittal of an application for this permit amendment, the installation of one additional parking pay station, and the periodic closure of the First Street Public Parking Lot at night,” according to the CCC staff report.

“The subject permit amendment would authorize the first two referenced items and Special Condition No. 5 requires submittal of a signage plan to clarify that the parking lot is open 24 hours/day,” according to the CCC staff report.

“Although development has taken place prior to submission of this permit application, consideration of the permit application by the Commission has been based solely on consistency of the proposed development with the policies of Chapter 3 of the Coastal Act,” according to the CCC staff report.

“Commission review and action on this permit does not constitute a waiver of any legal action with regard to the alleged violations (or any other violations),” according to the CCC staff report.